Aspen Mays is an American artist who explores the relationship between scientific investigation and the photographic medium to question the expectation of photography for observational purposes. Mays received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was a 2009-2010 Fulbright Fellow in Santiago, Chile.
By Julia Cuddy
She completed a residency at the University of Chile’s Astronomical Observatory where she used an abandoned darkroom as her studio. Mays had free reign to unused expired photographic paper and chemicals as well as countless rejected prints and negatives from the labs archive. These materials were physically and visually essential to the conception of some of Mays most influential bodies of artwork.
The Sun 1957 is a collection of 25 silver gelatin prints that depict the Sun from a mid-century international survey of sunspots. This series showcases the sun’s progression throughout the year 1957. Mays had arranged them in chronological order with some months filling multiple sheets, while other months are recorded by fewer images. There is no record for November.
In a smaller complimentary project, Mays used a hole punch to physically remove each prominently visible star from found darkroom prints. By doing this she has rendered the stars invisible, commenting on the ways in which stars move—faster than our fast-paced technology can document the fiery bodies.
For more of Mays work visit her website: www.aspenmays.com
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