PORTABLE COLLECTIVE

JOHN A. BLYTHE

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ARTIST STATEMENT

My current art practice is an experimental exploration of the material possibilities of photography and the intersection between the representational and the abstract. Rather than using photography to capture images ‘out there’ that represent something external, I’m interested in how images might emerge from the photographic process itself and express something of the nature of the materials used. I’m particularly interested in contact, how material photography can capture and articulate a physical presence. I’m excited by the alchemy of early and alternative photographic processes. There is a magic at work that surpasses the technicality of the process and taps directly into the imagination. 

Underlying my work is my need to be sustainable and to acknowledge my individual responsibility to my community and the wider world. I also work as part of an interdisciplinary community of artists interested in finding more sustainable approaches to art making, with an emphasis on reducing environmental impact and developing ecologies of sustainable practice.

My practice is informed and supported through the integration of my artist-teacher identities. My teaching draws on both pedagogic and andragogic strategies to co-create the learning environment. I am committed to the value art brings to both individuals and communities, not just engagement with works of art but more so, the practice of art. I am particularly interested in the role art practice can play in developing analytical thinking, critical discourse, political awareness and places of connection in the wider community.

My socially engaged practice is expressed through my involvement with Fusion Arts, where I run a community darkroom in east Oxford. I have delivered workshops through Fusion arts as well as OVADA, Art at The Old Fire Station, The Pitt Rivers Museum, and Camp Wildfire Festival. My workshop program focuses on alternative and experimental approaches, exploring a wide range of sustainable photographic practices.