Artist Statement - Scanned Images

My work treats intensely subjective themes that could not be realized were it not for the processes of computer-imaging technology. All of the images, be they classed as still life, narrative, or portraiture, employ my body, my hands, my face, as artificer and artifact.

When a camera takes a picture, it captures an image in an instant. When a scanner takes a picture, it captures an image one line at a time. My art exploits the process by which a scanner "takes a picture" to create digital images that do not use software to create distortions or manipulate an image.

My images usually start out as scans of my hand holding an object or objects and moving across the bed of the scanner as it is scanning. I then use Photoshop to clean up the scan, tweak the color and make other minor changes.

In the Head Shot series, the face displays passions so extreme that the corporeal architecture comes undone, allowing even the self to be savaged. A mad intensity illumines the eye, hair swirls in fearsome vortices, while the mouth becomes a loathsome orifice. In contrast, Bare Love offers a tender playful vision, where a banal salt and pepper set enacts the interplay of lovers guided and supported by a creator’s hand. Here, the mocking irony of post-modernist esthetic is eschewed.

In With Two Hands and My Left Hand the "trickster" potential of digital imaging is demonstrated. The images’ deformative effects are not accomplished by software manipulation, rather they result from the properties of image scanning. Objects moving across the scanner’s bed are recorded line by line, moment by moment. By employing and exploiting the scanner as camera, the resulting images bear the performative imprint.

Statements About Each Series

Bare Love
Intimacy is the subject of Bare Love. A pair of salt and pepper shakers nestled in my hand are surrogates that reveal a range of emotions in this series of images. I created these images by holding a pair of salt and pepper shakers in my hand and manipulating them while they were being scanned. I strove to capture a sense of intimacy between the Bears.

Godzilla is a creature of breathtaking power with awesome destructive abilities. Many monsters like him exist in the legends and literature of most cultures. The Beowulf legend presents the monster Grendel, who kills and mames Danes until Beowulf slays the beast. In John Gardner’s retelling of Beowulf, which narrates the story from the perspective of Grendel, we see the other side of the beast, learning of the creatures loneliness, torment and even human-like emotions. Godzilla is a series of digital images that presents this other side of the monster. These images visualize an animated dialog between monsters, with two small plastic wind-up toys as actors. The Godzillas may be trying to frighten one another or perhaps just telling a good story or joke.

Head Shots
Head Shots is a series of self-portraits that explore personal emotional states and how facial expressions convey those emotions. In these images I placed my head on the bed of my scanner and created an expression. As the scanner scanned my face I moved. By timing the movement of my head, I was able to capture both sides of my face in one image thereby enhancing the expressive quality of the image.

Vanitas refers to a type of painting meant to depict the transience of life. Vanitas vanitatum (vanity of vanities) is the Latin phrase from which the word is derived. In this series, I pair my left hand with a skull. My hand, moving and expressive, symbolizes my life. Skulls have symbolized mortality in Still Life as early as the sixteenth century. Hand and skull, life and death, move together in these images. This was the first series of images in which I used an object, a cat's skull. The skull belonged to my father-in-law. He had dissected it as a medical student.

With Two Hands
"I made it with my own two hands." This is a phrase that, at one time or another, all of us have spoken or heard. It implies a pride in our ability to fashion something. It indicates both a mastery of materials and a mastery of our hands. In this series of images, my two hands are both the subject and the instrument, the fashioned and the fashioner. The hand is an important element of my imagery. It emphasizes that although "computer imaging technology" is used to create art, the artist's hand is still an integral part of the process.

Beauty & Beast
In this series of images I choose objects from two previous series of images, a bear from Bare Love and Godzilla from the series of the same name. I wanted to see how these two very different persona would interact. Almost immediately the idea of Beauty & Beast occurred to me and this series came to be about a playful relationship and shared intimacies between the bear and Godzilla.

The first image in this series, Portal, 1, includes several objects I have collected solely for the purpose of image making. Portal, 1 is very different from my previous work. Instead of holding objects in my hand during the scanning process, I simply set them up like a still life on the flatbed scanner and included my face in the scan. It took several scans before the arrangement of objects and the image of my face were just right. The next set of images in this series use images from With Two Hands, an earlier series of images. I found that by repeating an image I could bring out the architectural qualities on hands.


All contents on this Web site are protected by copyright. All rights are reserved worldwide. No portion of the information on this Web site may be reproduced in any form, or by any means, without prior written permission from Harold Olejarz. Visitors are not permitted to modify, distribute, publish, transmit or create derivative works of any material found on this site for any commercial purposes without written permission. Educational uses are permitted.