Caleb Charland


March 4-28, 2010

Caleb Charland's evocative black-and-white images in his series, Demonstrations, stem from a sense of wonder about the physical world. Charland was raised in a do-it-yourself household in rural Maine, helping his father remodel family homes. This instilled in him an awareness of the potential for the creative use of everyday objects, and how they might be employed to fabricate unique aesthetic visions.

Beginning with a question like "What would happen if . . . ," Charland assembles and conducts sculptural "experiments" by combining old tools, familiar materials, and the fundamental forces of nature. Whether an electrified skeleton key or a sparkler run around a toy race car track, what we see in Demonstrations is a not simply a representation of his results: making photographs informs Charland's iterative process.

"I first test my assumptions about the interactions of certain objects or forces," Charland explains. "Often this leads to more fascinating properties than I could have imagined. As each image develops over time, the subject's natural tendencies strongly influence my aesthetic decisions."

Charland earned a BFA in photography with departmental honors from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2004, and is currently completing an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a Trustees Fellow. His work is in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Progressive Collection.