Darren Harvey-Regan is an artist who forces us to question our perception of reality. Working between sculpture and photography he looks at the line which separates the object and its representation. He presents these side by side, and indeed we also have The Erratics also presented both as a Photo Book and physical gallery exhibition.
An ‘erratic’ is a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests. It takes its name from the Latin word errare (to wander), and is carried by glacial ice, often over distances of hundreds of kilometres.
Harvey-Regan, both photographically and physically has lifted these rocks from their context, asking us to examine their similarities and differences whilst altering their appearance and context.
He says “As a medium reliant on how the natural world appears to it, can a photograph ever be truly abstract? Yet what process is more abstract than collapsing mass, depth and time into a single surface?”
The Erratics as a book however does not act simply as an accompaniment to the physical exhibitions since the photographing of the sculptures adds an extra layer of representation to the already complex puzzle – although I should note that he already presents photographs of some of the sculptures in his shows.
Photo-books also have a physical presence in their own right and the acts of ordering and presenting text and image within a photo-book create their own logic and artistic appeal. The Erratics does this well with a clever layout in a simply bound and relatively small (24 x 19cm) 80 page volume.
Within a simple text, on grey paper sandwiching the excellent reproductions, Harvey Regan reflects, often poetically, on the creative process behind The Erratics as he formulates his ideas, travels to the Egyptian desert to photograph rock formations and sculpts chalk blocks in his studio. He also considers the relationships between image and object drawing on art historian Wilhelm Worringer’s essay Abstraction and Empathy.
For Worringer, ‘empathy’ describes our need to connect to the visible world, identifying with it and representing it. Conversely, ‘abstraction’ is proposed as a means of coping with the overwhelming phenomena of the world by extracting things from their place in space and time whilst distilling them to purified line, form and colour.
This is a well thought out and cleverly realised volume that is well worth adding to any collection of art or photo-books.
The Erratics was shortlisted for the Aperture/Paris Photo First Photobook Award in 2017 and may be purchased here