Recent work from two ongoing bodies of imagery explores the relationship between photography and the landscape. In a unique, almost ritualistic manner, Bumgarner subjects his photographs to nature’s vigor, creating a beautiful reimagining of people and places, but also signifying contemporary issues of social, economical, and rural decay. The title bones bloom comes from the poem “Mulberry Fields” by Lucille Clifton. Mulberry Fields is an 18th century plantation in Southern Maryland where the artist lived from 2010 to 2011.
The process for the photographs starts by making medium format film images of landscapes or figures within the landscape. The photographs are processed, printed, and subsequently buried on site where they were taken. Through this burial, the images are taken out of the artist’s control and given back in respect to the landscape. Over a period of weeks/months, the photographs begin to become consumed by the landscape, their surfaces growing into new forms by merging with plants and mold. The previously buried photographs back to the studio and re-photographed. The finished images are printed on watercolor paper and mounted to dibond and waxed to a soft, luxurious finish.
Kelton Bumgarner was raised in Southern Maryland and received a B.A. in Art from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. His work has been exhibited in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Vermont. He is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2011 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Award. He currently lives in West Philadelphia.