Bob Poe- ArtSlant (October 2009)
Technological Prism: Le Caméra Stylo, the Iphone as an Extension of the Artist’s Hand Bob Poe’s current solo show titled “Illumination” shines a light on the art of chance. Large-scale archival prints originally captured with the modest 2-mega pixel of an Iphone 3G, are mounted on canvases and transform urban spectacles into mind-bending, geometric wonderments. In transferring the images from the touch screen surface of the Iphone to the canvases on the gallery walls, Poe exposes the limitations of his a medium designed to operate a miniature computer rather than a sophisticated camera. The detail rendered in the large-scale form of the images invites viewers to consider details that would have gone unnoticed. Each work is a Technicolor orchestra of motion, fiery primary colors that bleed into each other resulting in an obscured and wholly unique color palette. Photographing throughout Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Poe captures images that characterize the urban landscape, however the portability, ease, and spontaneity of his medium affect his message in an unpredictable way.
“Simply Red” marks a departure from the other works that are characterized by Poe’s desire to uncover the architecture of light and luminosity of objects. The entire print is covered with red except the outer left corners, which are eaten by darkness. In speaking with the artist I learned that “Simply Red” was the result of the artist’s own thumb obstructing the pinhole lens of his Iphone. The piece was an accident and beckons several questions- what had the artist intended to photograph? Was it ever photographed after he realized that the first attempt had failed? Or does the image justify the success of all the other works in the gallery space? If nothing else “Simply Red” humanizes Poe’s attempt to capture images because even when he seeks to capture that which “illuminates,” the one works that appears in the dark is the most inspiring.