Cold Wave, Hannah Whitaker’s new body of work, combines different image systems to produce optical puzzles; layered, manipulated images that merge the photographic representation of real referents in the world – the nude, the portrait, trees, water – with in-camera mechanical interventions – bars, light leaks, matts, masks of geometric shapes. The images are all contained within the rectangle in a 4 to 5 ratio proscribed by the view camera, the literal boundary that provides the conceptual framework for Whitaker’s explorations.
Whitaker calls the images shown together in Cold Wave a set, not a series. They belong to a closed system in which every element links and comments on every other – pictorially and materially. The use of the term “set” may be in homage to Kurt Gödel, the celebrated Austrian logician Whitaker cites as a key influence. Cold Wave could be seen as an artist’s response, with “pseudo-mathematical manipulations”, as Whitaker