Christian Faur’s 2012 exhibition title “Rods and Cones” alludes to the photo-receptors in the human retina and the familiar shape of a crayon. Faur uses over 145,000 individually hand cast wax crayons to explore the complexity of the pixel in digital photography. He recreates what is hidden from our visual perception by replacing the pixel with crayons. These colorful “rods and cones” are assembled by hand into rectangular frames in intricate hexagonal grids that recreate the illusion of a photograph in sculptural form. This expansion of the pixel allows us to see the structure and scaffolding behind the surface of an image, opening the viewer’s eyes to the hidden patterns and complex arrangements of points that make up a photograph.
Faur begins by deconstructing a single image into its most basic elements of tone, color, form and resolution. Using traditional artists’ pigments and an encaustic medium, Faur mixes and casts the exact colors and quantities needed for each of the crayons used in a particular work. The highly manipulated image is then reconstructed with these individually cast wax “pixels.”
The finished works vary from photo-realistic landscapes and portraits to completely abstracted forms. In the Melodie series, Faur uses a single constant image to explore in several iterations the weaving of colors, tones, and patterns with the intent to push the limits of the technique. The viewer can then experience the underlying nature of the construction of a photograph. In other works, Faur focuses on the removal of information through the addition of digital noise and static, exploring how visual information breaks down.
As our digital photographic and display technologies continue to advance, the pixel will eventually become so small that it will evade our awareness of its existence entirely. This work celebrates this moment of transition by deliberately raising these elemental points to our consciousness and allowing us one more good look at these colorful “rods and cones” before they disappear right in front of our eyes.
Christian Faur was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for 2013.