This current series of non-representational chromogenic photograms evoke a sense of power, drama and expansiveness. Slechta’s art process is a simple one: light = color. It is the basic premise of how we perceive our natural world, only with these works; there is a very specific place and time of this occurrence. John Cage once said, “There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear.” With these photograms, this principle is turned into brief moments of transience as light triggers color.
The complexity and the ‘control’, for lack of a better term, comes from the paintings he creates to make his photograms. Using permanent pigments over prepared acetate, Slechta paints hard edge, geometric compositions that are later employed as a sort of negative that filters direct points of light. As with contact printing in photography, the paintings the artist makes are the same size as the photosensitive paper he uses to record the light as color. Working in a totally darkened space, the ‘Action’ begins when Slechta moves a pen light across the surface of the painting. The light, which travels through the pigment is filtered in varying degrees by color, paint thickness, time and distance. These four factors yield pure color expressions (line, dots, dashes and fields) in a range of degrees in clarity and density. Even the brush strokes, which are held frozen in the dried paint, yield striations from the individual brush hairs that disperse the paint.
Technically speaking, these photograms reside in a place between painting and photography as neither method can take total credit for his process. And since this is lens-less photography pivoting upon the photosensitive paper, and the paintings the artist creates are never seen outside the studio, the art can be looked at as being solely a recording of a transition – a change in a basic element.
The beauty in his process is its simplicity, leaving the viewers with both the elements of chance and the fleeting aspects of control that makes Slechta’s works uplifting and inspirational. The photograms feature spiking lines, flaring discs, and oscillating patterns that seem to arise from pristine white space. The shifting forms range from vivid auras of color to pools of deep black, and suggest a dimension beyond our own. These are poetic works, spare in their means, but rich in emotive resonance.