MS: My work includes photograms. They are made from painted canvasses—no camera involved. I make a painting on a canvas, and in a dark room, I put it on a piece of photo paper, sort of like an X-ray of a painting. I was making paintings but always from sources that I found, like from pictures that I took. I was very interested in where an image came from…how it becomes re-embodied and reformed, which in my opinion is analogous to a sense of movement through the world. The photography grew from one project with an archive of small photos that I’d collected. I thought, if I had negatives for these photos all the images could be the same size, and the group would be perfect! So I made the negatives by hand, I imagined what the negative would be.
THC: How is it being back at Harvard?
MS: It’s nice being back—strange being back and to be teaching here. I’m happy to be back. I will try to refrain from telling stories of the old days in class.
THC: What are you currently working on?
KB: I’m doing a show in Cincinnati, at a gallery called Country Club. I’m curating the work of Charlie Harper, who did Golden Book illustrations for schools, my own work, and the work of New York artist Matthew Brannon. It’s nice to be in a show with somebody [Harper] from a different generation, with someone who did drawings for a specific purpose, but was also a talented craftsman.
THC: You often draw on history and architectural design for subject matter. What is the appeal?
KB: I think part of the working process for me in trying to understand my place in relation to history, and part of the process of making the work, is the kind of confusion between what we know in history, who documents, and what information we bring to it ourselves. Understanding history becomes a partially subjective and objective process—how everything is sort of part fiction, and how that gets reassembled through the work somehow.