Variations


I have been working on Variations for many years; it began in 2011 as nonrepresentational images of concrete grain silos and has evolved to include four distinct subjects—exhibition prints measure three to four feet.

The term Variations refers to the process of creating a variation of a subject. I deconstruct the subject by photographing numerous details of the structure and later, when at home in my studio, combine selected fragments to form a new image—a variation.

In 2018, after working with concrete grain silos for many years, I was inspired by another type of concrete structure during a visit to Marfa, Texas. Although Donald Judd’s “15 untitled works in concrete” is my subject, the experience of viewing his “100 works in mill aluminum” was the inspiration. Judd’s use of light and space stunned me and I was in a daze when I left the second shed. I looked to my left and saw Judd’s works in concrete—I knew immediately it would be my next subject (if allowed by Chinati).

I have visited Marfa four times over the past two years and I have found an intense week of photography followed by months away (I live outside San Francisco) to be a very productive method. Unfortunately, my March trip to Marfa was cancelled due to Covid-19, but I do plan to return when it is again safe to travel.

Fort Winfield Scott (located within the Presidio of San Francisco) is the most recent addition to Variations—all of these photographs were made in 2020.  The old stucco barracks, surrounding the parade ground, is the last part of the Presidio to be redeveloped and has been unoccupied since the Army left in 1994. What may appear to be a prehistoric cave painting floating on a black surface (Variation #9) is actually weathered paper (covering the inside of the window) damaged by decades of exposure to UV light and moisture. The windows, walls, and shadows of Fort Scott provide a potent addition to “Variations”.

It is difficult to convey exactly why I have devoted so much time and energy to “Variations”, but I believe at the core is my fascination with the artist’s ability to modulate space—to compress what is vast and create volume where none exist.

Lyle Gomes
May 2020

Sections

Artist Statement

Variations


I have been working on Variations for many years; it began in 2011 as nonrepresentational images of concrete grain silos and has evolved to include four distinct subjects—exhibition prints measure three to four feet.

The term Variations refers to the process of creating a variation of a subject. I deconstruct the subject by photographing numerous details of the structure and later, when at home in my studio, combine selected fragments to form a new image—a variation.

In 2018, after working with concrete grain silos for many years, I was inspired by another type of concrete structure during a visit to Marfa, Texas. Although Donald Judd’s “15 untitled works in concrete” is my subject, the experience of viewing his “100 works in mill aluminum” was the inspiration. Judd’s use of light and space stunned me and I was in a daze when I left the second shed. I looked to my left and saw Judd’s works in concrete—I knew immediately it would be my next subject (if allowed by Chinati).

I have visited Marfa four times over the past two years and I have found an intense week of photography followed by months away (I live outside San Francisco) to be a very productive method. Unfortunately, my March trip to Marfa was cancelled due to Covid-19, but I do plan to return when it is again safe to travel.

Fort Winfield Scott (located within the Presidio of San Francisco) is the most recent addition to Variations—all of these photographs were made in 2020.  The old stucco barracks, surrounding the parade ground, is the last part of the Presidio to be redeveloped and has been unoccupied since the Army left in 1994. What may appear to be a prehistoric cave painting floating on a black surface (Variation #9) is actually weathered paper (covering the inside of the window) damaged by decades of exposure to UV light and moisture. The windows, walls, and shadows of Fort Scott provide a potent addition to “Variations”.

It is difficult to convey exactly why I have devoted so much time and energy to “Variations”, but I believe at the core is my fascination with the artist’s ability to modulate space—to compress what is vast and create volume where none exist.

Lyle Gomes
May 2020

Sections