Shadows of the First Law

Growing up in rural Maine, Charland spent much of his childhood helping his father remodel their family home. These experiences instilled an awareness of the potential for the creative use of materials, and the ability to fabricate his visions. Charland earned a BFA in photography with departmental honors from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2004, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a Trustees Fellow in 2010, and was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2009. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in several major collections including  the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Progressive Collection, Dow Jones Corporation, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Charland is a 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant recipient and currently lives and works in Maine.

Panel Discussion, Generating Contrast for Shadows of the First Law
Featuring Allison Pappas, MFAH, and Jason Hafner, Rice University
April 2, 2 PM

Exhibition February 26 – April 2, 2016

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” -Albert Einstein

The way we understand the world relies so much on our ability to measure it. Given that many measurements are based on the proportions of the human body it’s clear we measure stuff to find our place amongst it all and to connect with it in some way. By exploring the world at hand, from the basement to the backyard, I have found a resonance in things. An energy vibrates in that space between our perceptions of the world and the potential the mind senses for our interventions within the world. This energy is the source of all true art and science, it breeds those beloved “Ah Ha!” moments and it allows us to sense the extraordinary in the common.

For me, wonder is a state of mind somewhere between knowledge and uncertainty. It is the basis of my practice and results in images that are simultaneously familiar yet strange. Each piece begins as a question of visual possibilities and develops in tandem with the natural laws of the world. This process often yields unexpected results measurable only through photographic processes. The artifacts of the process provide a clue to the creation of the photograph while adding to the mysterious nature of the image. My hope is that this work affirms that even within the well tested laws of science there are, and must always be, pathways to reinterpretation and discovery.