Aberration #12, 2011
Archival inkjet print
10 x 12.5 inches on 14 x 17 inch paper
Signed Edition of 50
Adam Ekberg's photographs capture brief moments of lyrical beauty in everyday objects and the artist's understated, ephemeral interventions in his surroundings. His work offers a muted suggestion of a mystical presence around us, whether glimpsed in floating smoke rings or iridescent soap bubbles resting delicately on the grass. In his Aberrationseries Ekberg photographs a forest's leafy canopy while aiming his camera toward the sun. As the light streams through the foliage, it refracts through his camera's lens, yielding perfect concentric circles of translucent color in his photographs. The center of each image is a bright white glow, surrounded by thin rings of yellow and red, and beyond them wider bands of green and blue. This phenomenon is a phantom presence rather than a physical one, existing only within Ekberg's camera.
These vivid aberrations among the trees are enigmatic and candidly beautiful, yet their clean geometry and consistent form, photograph after photograph, give them a scientific quality as well. In this regard the Aberration series is both an extended optical experiment and a contemporary reconception of "spirit photography," the late-nineteenth century practice of making spectral images to portray the supernatural. On one hand, Ekberg uses photography self-reflexively: his photographs center on the medium's relationship with light, and his images underscore the camera's tendency to aestheticize what it depicts. On the other, Ekberg's work is more than a technical or theoretical exercise: these pictures continue his exploration of how the camera may be used to create a feeling of magic and mystery with minimal means.
Ekberg completed an MFA from the School of the Art Institute (2006) and a BA from Wheaton College, Massachusetts (1998). Most recently his work has been exhibited at Thomas Robertello Gallery, Chicago; Fotografiska Gallery, Stockholm; Platform Gallery, Seattle; the Chelsea Art Museum, New York; and the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. Ekberg’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.