On October 10th, 2022, I was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant through the Sacramento Office of Arts & Culture.
The work carried out as part of the creation pathway for this NEA grant is two-fold, incorporating both the creation of art and the production of accessibility features. Art creation will produce twelve large-scale (24 x 36″ | 91.4 x 60.96cm) “oversized” 2-dimensional archival pigment prints on photo rag paper mounted to aluminum panels. Incorporating accessibility features into two-dimensional artwork is an emerging field and will be essential to allowing community members of diverse abilities to experience the work.
I struck gold, finding Alejandra Velázquez to curate the collection. Their training at the esteemed Jumex Museo in Mexico City added an invaluable layer of depth. Alejandra became integral to the project, diving into language translations, refining artwork descriptions, and crafting a poignant poem for the exhibition’s title wall. We worked tirelessly until the end—Alejandra, a true linchpin for this project.
Artist Statement for this exhibition:
Photography is often described as the most faithful medium of real life depiction and documentation. A mirror with no ornaments or subjectivity, only reality in all its spectacularity and crassness. The truth and nothing but the truth. But the thing about the truth is we all have our own. The lens was conceived as a window to regard ourselves from the outside. Photography has now expanded its narrative potential into the realm of the dreamlike and the emotive and the camera has been transformed into a brush capable of painting the landscapes of our inner lives. Our perspectives have flipped, and now we see the world from the inside out.I use my camera as an instrument to represent how our body grieves, adapts, and adjusts to significant physical impairment, evident external challenges, and concealed internal disabilities. I intervene the optics with lenses and surfaces to manipulate and disrupt its vision and present an intimate representation of my atypical way of seeing the world. Each image is a raw impression of sensations and mementos—a colorful daydream for the spectator to experience. I combine colors, shapes, audio and text to stimulate an emotional connection between viewers and their memories. These abstract sensory experiences aim to celebrate individual resilience and the universal human journey, and spark a conversation between reality and our perception of it. I describe my work as a fusion of partial sight and neurodivergent perspectives with a focus on accessibility. My goal is to bring together as many languages, referential aids, and spatial cues as possible to offer an inclusive experience for diverse cognitive and sensory abilities. I aspire to transgress conventional visual norms to stimulate meaningful conversations. I hope my alternative perspective of the world encourages a fresh and unique interpretation of reality. /Doug Winter, 2023
Every artwork label displayed three languages: Spanish, English and Vietnamese. A QR Code on the label triggered an audio image description for the artwork including motivation and thoughts about his life and artwork.
There are two interactive installations present for the exhibition. Below is a time lapse of “Flames of Catania”
Flames of Catania
Dissected Archival pigment over acrylic. Diptych (28 x 37inches) Edition of 1
Description: At the exhibition’s opening, attendees carefully read the descriptive label accompanying this artwork. Guests were invited to “Take a piece of the artwork with you. Art is a shared human experience.” As squares were gently plucked from their positions on the wall, the guests were encouraged to contribute something meaningful in return: a piece of themselves, a cherished quote, a precious memory, a profound emotion, or even a beloved color inscribed upon a slip of paper provided with a pink marker. Placing these tokens within the transparent container adjacent to the artwork, they formed a visual testimony, a simple act of reciprocal offering fostering an unspoken bond between unfamiliar faces, triggering an exquisite chain reaction of empathetic sharing, rendering the gallery not just a repository of art but a sanctuary for deep emotional connection. Image Description: A wildfire on a paved road in the middle of a summer day. Billowing smoke rises from the ground, engulfing the rural surroundings in a white, grayish and orange hue, partially obscuring the view of the clear blue sky.
The next interactive installation in the exhibition is a large aluminum print.
BLUE, Color #3, V2.
Dye sublimation print on an aluminum panel (36×48 inches) (91.44×121.92 cm) Edition of 1.
Please take a moment to picture a scenario in which you have no concept of color, and blue is beyond your comprehension. Now touch the piece. Gently brush the surface with your fingertips. Consider closing your eyes for a more focused sensation.
Move slowly and pay attention to variations like smooth areas, rough patches, or subtle reliefs. Be aware of how the topography responds to your touch. Let your mind wander unrestricted. Remember to feel freely any and every hue of darkness or light.
Now think of how you would describe the “essence” of the blue in front of you without referring to its physical properties. Consider all emotions, sensations, and experiences that come to mind when you try to feel the piece without associating it with its cultural commonplaces. How would you convey the emotional complexity of your reaction without making associations to its visual connections? Would your perceptions be different if the piece was hot to the touch instead of cool? If it was velvety versus rough? How does your sense of touch influence your sight and emotions?
Visually impaired people often have to rely on touch to create their individual world vision. How different would your day to day experiences be if you relied solely on the information you get from your fingertips?