Brenton Hamilton

Brenton Hamilton’s work provides a contemporary view on mythology and history created with one of the first photographic processes. His new series of interconnected works comes in the form of cyanotype prints on paper and recently black glass ambrotype. The images comprising “As I Nod to my Influences I Want to Float” reference a constant, personal interior dialogue of Hamilton’s.

“Among significant influences that I respond to are the study of history and culture – and that has lead to my “reenactments” on paper and glass. I have fashioned references to the artists studio, early diagrams and engravings of human anatomy, bird study and astronomy. The history of collecting and early museums that were called Wunderkammer have been especially powerful for me. These small, serious rooms were filled with bones and shells, engravings, fragments and casts, and semi precious stones. We’re really drawers full of human knowledge.

In the pictures that I conjure up, the viewer is presented and sees an invented world. Animal bodies and human features, torso’s surrounded by stars, or a studio still life of an unusual object emerging from blackness. I hope this work makes a space for the viewer to behold a new precipice.” – Brenton Hamilton

Brenton Hamilton is a visual artist and historian of photography, who lives and works on the coast of Maine. He combines human anatomy, astronomy and botanical imagery to create intriguing and provocative arrangements. You will notice in his work references to ancient Greece and Rome, as well as 15th and 16th century Netherland and Italian paintings. Hamilton appropriates symbols and visual elements from the history of art to arrive at a thoroughly contemporary vision.

This British process, cyanotype, from the 1840’s is principally iron salts coated onto fine French watercolor paper. The paper is coated repeatedly and dried in darkness – large composite film negatives are placed in contact and the larger frame is placed in sunlight. In the bright July sun of the Maine coast, the exposures can be up to 12 hours. After such an exposure, many of his works are further embellished with layers of white gouache, silver leaf or gum arabic washes.