Ken Fandell and the Skies Above

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If you don’t know who Ken Fandell is, you should. Not only is he a great photographer, and a really nice guy, but he also shares my taste in beer- which is really important, because this is Asheville after all.

Fandell spent a few days last month wandering around Asheville, scouring the skies and chasing clouds around to take photographs for a work commissioned by the Museum’s Collectors’ Circle. It will be installed in the new Museum and will literally be composed of the skies over Asheville (and surrounding areas!)

Fandell is an internationally acclaimed photographer who lives and works in Chicago and teaches at the Chicago Art Institute. His work comments on the interesting interplay of high and low culture, concerns of artist ownership and issues of permanence. He takes hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of the sky and collages them together to make one image, reflective of movement- of space and of time- all of which are stopped by the taking of a photograph and the capturing of a moment, but are still hinted at by this capturing itself. In Fandell’s own words, his interest with these works lies in “the complexity of the composition mixed with the duration of time”. His interplay interestingly positions the conceptual against the romantic, instilling a humor in the work that is both intelligent and creatively original.


The Museum had one of his works on display in the gallery as part of our 2008 show Time is of the Essence. It is composed of over 500 photographs taken from various locations around the US and Europe and collaged into one seamless photomontage. As you can see, his works are steadily growing in scale and thus, he is also interested in the production of his photographs, often using a wallpaper-like substance to install them on the walls, pushing the boundaries of how you think about photography in a gallery space or Museum environment. In this way, they are quite industrial. And yet, the works have a beautiful quality to them, almost as if you could be mesmerized by them and stare at them for hours. Excuse me….

Ok, I am back. So, Fandell spoke to our Collectors’ Circle about his progress among the clouds, his process of creating the works and his ideas for the future piece. stay tuned for more…

Check out Ken Fandell’s work HERE!

Images: Ken Fandell with Collectors’ Circle member Ray Griffin; Ken Fandell’s talk during the Collectors’ Circle gathering; Visitors gather around Ken Fandell’s All the Skies Above, 2006, archival ink jet print, Courtesy of the Columbus Museum of Art at Asheville Art Museum’s opening of Time is of the Essence.