I have been exploring the varied possibilities of “the composite photograph” and alternative methods of presenting photographs for more than 30 years. Working with grids, multiple images, and creative presentation materials allows me to expand the language of still photography beyond the limitations of traditional single-frame imagery. Although my work is primarily formalist in approach, I am interested in how combinations of images work together both visually and thematically. Often my artworks are about photography itself and the various options and decisions explored while photographing, editing, printing, and assembling.
Some of my composite photographs portray varied facets of a singular subject in multiple combined frames. More commonly recently, the component parts of these assemblages were photographed years and perhaps many miles apart, and the reasons for the completed assemblages are both formal/aesthetic, and also relate to subject matter and potential content.
My series of Image/Text works, which I sometimes refer to as “Open to Interpretation,” involves the inclusion of each artwork’s title as a visual element included in each work. This text has an amount of intended ambiguity, so that content is somewhat directed, but also so that each viewer may also infer his or her own meaning from the work. I have made Image/Text works as 20" squares on paper, as 36" squares on wood & canvas, and also in a variety of odd sizes on wood. Each work may include analog photographs, digital photographs, cyanotypes, painting & drawing media, and/or collage materials. All included component photographs are always my own original work. Specific interpretation of context and meaning is open.
I also have an ongoing series of "Figure Studies," which include my own original photographs of people, mannequins, and statues, in various combinations. These assemblages usually also include some of my own drawing, painting, and/or collage. As is true with the rest of my work, this series also seeks to expand the language of still photography by exploring issues of content combinations, aesthetics, scale, photographic methods, and unique presentation.
-- David Underwood.