Niconowicz photographed an image of a mountain range on a reciept while in Italy. courtesy Drew Niconowicz

Niconowicz brings bizarre photography to Hogue

The Alexandre Hogue Gallery hosts a show by the traveled photographer whose work combines nature and technology.

University of Missouri-Columbia graduate, Drew Niconowicz, visited the University of Tulsa art department on Thursday, Oct. 3. After having earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2016, he proceeded to gain international acclaim for his ongoing photography project currently on display in the Alexandre Hogue Gallery in Phillips Hall: “This World and Others Like It.” Art professor (on sabbatical) Dan Farnum selected Drew’s work for a Hogue Gallery Exhibition and presented him to attending students and faculty.

In his lecture, Nikonowicz began his powerpoint presentation with a quote from an admired photographer of his, Daniel J. Boorstin. He discussed how technology and photography are intermediaries between individuals and their environment and the fascination that this notion has always held for him.

The presentation shifted to an image received by NASA depicting the surface of the planet Mars. Niconowicz explained the astounding nature of such an image as he sees it: it has almost nothing to do with the work of actual humans. The rover went on a 140 million-mile journey, at which point it captured an image that, with the message sending and receival times of the device, took 14 minutes to get back to Earth. All of this was a very long-winded and convoluted way to make the point that this was an amazing example of the sublime depicted through contemporary mediums. The sublime is categorized as an augmented or hyper-reality.

The majority of his lecture consisted of paintings and photographs created by artists that Niconowicz admired and attempted to emulate in specific ways throughout the development and construction of his exhibition. These artists included Timothy O’Sullivan, Taryn Simon and Andreas Gurskey. He discussed how technology and photography are intermediaries between individuals and their environment and the fascination that this notion has always held for him.

Niconowicz discussed his four different photography techniques: basic line-of-sight photos, landscape extractions, computer generated photos and photographs that reference the image-making process. One such image was a very famous NASA photograph of an astronaut on the moon. However, Niconowicz claimed the image as his own after he altered the photo with the unique pixel grid of his computer, thus creating somehow an entirely new image. Or so it was explained to me.

Drew Niconowicz was awarded a one-year residency in Italy, where he intended to begin a new project, but instantly felt that the project he left in St. Louis had not been completed. Thus, many images created from his time in Europe ended up on display downstairs in Phillips Hall. One picture from his time overseas was of a receipt he obtained after eating a meal with a view of a mountain range. The receipt has a sketch of said mountain range at the top and, rather than capture an image of the mountains, he decided to take a picture of the mountain drawing on the receipt.

Niconowicz ended his lecture with an explanation that the notion of photography is a highly mediated art form, thus perfectly conveying how intertwined the multitude of worlds in existence are. He left the audience with this: “We can go a many great deal of places both through and not through technology.” This to me pretty much summed up the hour of bizarre catch phrases and incoherently strung together words I had sat through.

Post Author: Tori Gellman