Derek Jecxz, Forsaken Waters, Twenty-Two Gallery is a collection of photographs of desolate scenes of water, eerily beautiful and mysterious landscapes far from civilization. The exhibition is a combination of photographs printed on paper and aluminum, DoN spoke with the artist at the opening about the process to print on metal. Derek Jecxz explained, “About sixteen or seventeen of them are on aluminum and they were very difficult to do. There is probably between five and ten hours work in each one. Cleaning the aluminum, getting the chemicals off of it, sanding the aluminum multiple times and then prepping it again and then coating it with a chemical so that I could then get it through and printed on.”
“And then it has to dry for five days, then I have to varnish it, and then I have to trim it off the big metal sheet.”
“Wow!” said DoN. “I know!.” said Derek, “I think I bit off more than I could chew. And then you have to try and keep it flat. I’m using an Epson 9800, but I’m not running the metal directly through, I attach it to a carrier sheet, I didn’t have the confidence of running the metal right through. So I tape it to a big sheet of paper and run that paper through, this way I’m not going to ruin the printer on the edges. That was my main fear.”
DoN asked if it’s such a laborious process how did Jecxz decide which images to use? “Well, I knew the subject of the show was going to be water because that was my predominant theme. When I did a series of tests I noticed that if a picture had a light element in it, it allowed the luminescence of the aluminum to shine through, so that was an easy decision for me. The process was difficult because of a lot of false starts, I tried stainless steel, I tried different sanding techniques – a lot of false starts.
DoN wondered why the photographer didn’t use a commercial producer? “I did find two vendors, one vendor sells aluminum sheets with a max width of twenty inches, I can’t use that with medium format photography for big prints twenty inches doesn’t work. Another company sells very, very shiny aluminum and it’s not what I liked.”
Distinguishing between the aluminum and paper prints is difficult, which is which? Derek Jecxz explained, “Anything with plexi is paper anything that has no cover is aluminum. You can see my hand from sanding it, everything is personal, I stamp each one and everything is unique. So this starts out as a three by three foot sheet, I hand sand it for about five hours multiple times and then the process goes from there. The smaller ones were easier than the larger ones but you can see where the white really came through.”
Derek Jecxz shoots with Hasselblad , some film, some digital but most of the photographs are digital. DoN commented that whenever he takes his camera to the beach it doesn’t work so well because of the humidity. Derek said, “I was standing in the water, probably knee deep or higher, with the waves crashing in. I will risk the gear to take the shot, the gear is irrelevant. You’re there to make a picture not protect your gear.”
The illusion of whiteness in Derek Jecxz‘s photographs is uncanny, the somewhat matte finish to the metal shows through where white in the picture is because printers don’t print white ink. The presentation is exquisite with the photographs mounted in hand-made frames, the room filled with images of distant places and primordial seascapes. Twenty-Two Gallery is located on 22nd Street and has twenty-two member artists, the solo show in the front gallery visible from the street and an intimate gallery with works by the twenty-one other member artists.
Written and Photographed by DoN Brewer
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