Toronto specializing in contemporary photography

20th Century Plastics

20th Century Plastics

Artist Statement

The images in this series resemble gestural abstract paintings while clearly being something else. ’20th Century Plastics’ are photographs of long forgotten large format transparencies. I originally exposed these chromes during my career as a commercial still life photographer. When storage space became tight in my studio, I recklessly placed them on the floor of my damp garage. It was there that time and nature transformed them. Alchemic in character, these pieces of film remain to me, in some ways, the same as they ever were – dyes suspended in gelatin emulsion on acetate.

As we stand witness to the gradual disappearance of these materials from use and production it is not difficult to acknowledge the mutable and ephemeral nature of all things. Embedded in our expectations of the medium is its ability to halt time, to disrupt change. The ghostly surfaces of these decayed relics of the medium’s past evoke the erasure of both the images they once held and the means, materials and methods of their origins. In photographing these objects I continue my pursuit in examining the gap between abstract and representational depiction.

My work in general is focused on the investigation towards the medium of photography itself and the interplay between image, materials and its means of production. I seek to make visible photography’s particular conditions of representation and the instability of meaning in any representation.

Availability & Pricing

Current prices range from $900 – $2,000 USD, increasing as the edition sells.
Please contact the gallery for more information, including current availability and pricing, and to see additional images from the series.

Request Info


’20th Century Plastics’ was featured on Photo-eye blog and includes an interview with Rita Maas by Lucas Shaffer.
[ read it here ]