Gel Slide Sandwiches
Multidimensional visual art from 1979

This is an inadequate representation of a project I worked on, starting with my Advanced Design Art Class at Trinity College, in 1979.
At the time, the custom was for all visual artists to show their work as slides. I decided I would work with slides as my medium, but not using photographic processes.I eventually incorporated some, but that's not what they are really about!
I bought a box of slide frames, which could be sealed with a hot iron. I also took some gels from the theatre department and transparent plastic sheets, most probably used in overhead projectors. From these materials, I made sandwiches of clear plastic and gels (and sometimes acrylic medium). The gels were actually made of gelatin, and so in the hot slide projector, they would tend to melt a little.
These slides had a number of properties:
- the color was very intense and of course there was no photo grain.
- Since they were sandwiches, some of shapes and images would be out of focus, and others in very sharp focus.
- The Gel color could be separated into different layers, so there would be a pure mixing of color and detail, without actually mixing the media.
- With the acrylic medium, slides, the inside of the gel acted like a lens, making uneven concentrations of light and darkness. Thus, the light pars were lighter than normally possible, and the dark was made by an actual absence of light and not a blocking of light.
- The melting gels added a little animation to the projections.
- I think I had two projectors aimed at the same screen at one time. Thus, the shadows would be one slide, the foreground a mix of slides.
- because of the intense colors, the effect of "Red Advances, Blue Recedes" was very pronounced, sometimes making it seem like you were viewing a three dimensional painting.

Later I added in frames from movies, which were smaller than normal slide frames and could be surrounded by other elements. Many of these frames were from a broken film of my mother and uncle at the beach in the early 1930s. Another series uses 8 mm frames from an advertising film, meant to be run continuously in a department store display.

Two of these slides are made of manipulated SX70 instant photographs of other slides being projected. This was not a very successful process, but you can see one of the slides projected on what might be my face.

These slides all date from 1979 to 1984. The slide digitization is rather crude, and I didn't clean the slides first. Also: they could all stand color correction. But I think you get the point that photographic documentation is not going to do them justice.
-- Henry Lowengard
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