Colby Caldwell: landmarks

January 6 – February 18, 2023

Photograph of digital scan of tree

Colby Caldwell

otff_(21), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

72h x 52 1/4w in
182.88h x 132.72w cm

Edition of 3

CC_034

Photograph of digital scan from the forest floor

Colby Caldwell

otff_(31), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

45 1/2h x 33w in
115.57h x 83.82w cm

Edition 1/5

CC_033

Abstracted color photographic print of scan from elements found in the forest

Colby Caldwell

otff_(22), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

27 1/2h x 20w in
69.85h x 50.80w cm

Edition of 10

CC_029

Abstracted color photographic print of scan from elements found in the forest

Colby Caldwell

otff_(01), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

27 1/2h x 20w in
69.85h x 50.80w cm

Edition of 10

CC_030

Photograph of digital scan from the forest floor

Colby Caldwell

otff_(29), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

68 3/4h x 50w in
174.63h x 127w cm

Edition of 3

CC_024

Photograph of digital scan from the forest floor

Colby Caldwell

otff_(07), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

54 1/8h x 40w in
137.48h x 101.60w cm

Edition of 5

CC_026

Photograph of digital scan from the forest floor

Colby Caldwell

otff_(13), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

45 3/8h x 33w in
115.25h x 83.82w cm

Edition of 5

CC_027

Photograph of digital scan from the forest floor

Colby Caldwell

otff_(06), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

71 3/4h x 52 1/4w in
182.25h x 132.72w cm

Edition of 3

CC_025

Photograph of digital scan from the forest floor

Colby Caldwell

otff_(04), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

58h x 45w in
147.32h x 114.30w cm

Edition of 5

CC_015

Photograph of digital scan from the forest floor

Colby Caldwell

otff_(12), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

50h x 68 3/4w in
127h x 174.63w cm

Edition of 3

CC_014

Digital scan of elements from the forest by photographer Colby Caldwell

Colby Caldwell

otff_(27), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

57 5/8h x 82 1/2w in
146.37h x 209.55w cm

Edition 1/3

CC_032

Photograph of trees and sky

Colby Caldwell

ftff_(01b), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

Edition of 10

CC_021

Photograph of trees and sky

Colby Caldwell

ftff_(12), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment printed mounted to dibond and waxed

9h x 12w in
22.86h x 30.48w cm

Edition of 10

CC_020

Photograph of tree tops and bight sky

Colby Caldwell

ftff_(19), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

9h x 16w in
22.86h x 40.64w cm

Edition of 10

CC_028

Photograph of trees and sky

Colby Caldwell

ftff_(13), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

9h x 9w in
22.86h x 22.86w cm

Edition of 10

CC_019

Photograph of trees and sky

Colby Caldwell

ftff_(16b), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

9h x 9w in
22.86h x 22.86w cm

Edition of 10

CC_018

Color photograph of tree tops and sky

Colby Caldwell

ftff_(21), 2021 (printed 2022)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

15h x 20w in
38.10h x 50.80w cm

Edition of 10

CC_035

Photograph of seed pods on dark background

Colby Caldwell

Untitled (101), 2021 (printed (2023)

Archival pigment print mounted to dibond and waxed

27 1/2h x 20w in
69.85h x 50.80w cm

Edition of 5

CC_031

Press Release

Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present landmarks, an exhibition of new work by photographer Colby Caldwell. On view are large-scale, wax coated color photographic prints of elements from the natural world abstracted by digital interventions. Paired with these are small, meditative photographs taken from the forest floor of bright skies framed by treetops.

In his most recent work, Caldwell explores the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains collecting what could be thought of as visual "field recordings." Using a flatbed scanner as a makeshift camera, Caldwell documents what he encounters on his wanderings: decomposing leaves, moss, lichen, tree bark. The resulting images are punctuated by digital interferences – unnatural hues of pinks, reds, and greens, swaths of pixilation, and large streaks where the scanner attempts and fails to “accurately” record information. Caldwell asks us to examine often overlooked details from the forest floor in a new view, not shying from the digital idiosyncrasies inherent in the process of scanning 3-dimensional objects on a flat surface.  

Where much of Caldwell’s previous work has included bringing nature into his studio, this series flips the script in a unique examination of technology's place in the natural world. The work pushes at the parameters of traditional, photo historical nature specimen documentation. Caldwell is less interested in precisely cataloging samples, and more interested in investigating which tools we use to do so.

The work additionally looks at how history is held within the landscape, and the ways humans have appropriated the land, contested its ownership, and used it for sustenance. Caldwell’s unconventional, experimental methodology of documentation seems to be pointing to the many ways these histories have been obscured, and the way our connection to nature has changed in the contemporary digital era.

Colby Caldwell (American, born 1965), once a student of history, has tested virtually every avenue of the personal uses of photography as an instrument of memory. While his early work replicated the theatrical feeling of 19th Century "drawing with light," his most recent efforts deconstruct the very elements of digital photography. Caldwell has held teaching positions at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC; St. Mary’s College of Maryland; and currently at Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC. His work is included in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA. Caldwell received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in 1990. Recent solo exhibitions include Selu Songs at the Radford Art Museum in early 2022. He was featured in the book Art of the State, published November 2022, which surveys contemporary art in his home state of North Carolina. He currently lives and works in Asheville, NC.