Sol Hill: Urban Landscapes
Opening: May 22, 2020
Patina Gallery, Santa Fe
What is a metagraph? This is a useful question to introduce Sol Hill’s work, as the artist himself explained. Metagraphs is the title of Hill’s body of photography, which records and visualizes meaning in noise. While a photograph records light, metagraphs record unseen electromagnetic energy. “The beauty of digital is that you can interact with the process,” says Hill. “It creates a dance of spontaneous discovery.” Patina Gallery is presenting a selection of Hill’s photography (or rather, metagraphy) this spring on Friday, May 22. A native New Mexican and son of Santa Fe artist Megan Hill, this will be Sol Hill’s second show in New Mexico. This collection was made possible in partnership with co-curator Craig Anderson, Anderson Arts.
What is noise, first of all?
Sol Hill: Noise is that which interferes with what you are actively seeking. Traditionally, photography is concerned with tack-sharp focus in the recording of light. We have limited perception of the electromagnetic spectrum, and we often design our instruments to record what we expect or are trying to see. But the world is full of energy that we don’t see. Electrons, packets of non-light energy, are unruly. They fall into the pixel ports of digital cameras and are recorded.
Endemic noise is non-light energy inherent in the sensors and circuitry of the equipment. Cosmic noise is any energy from outside of the camera that moves electrons into the pixel ports.
Why is noise significant to you?
It’s sublime, in the sense of being usually beyond our capacity to behold. Noise is the stuff of discovery and potential. When you turn your attention to noise, you uncover the possibility of new meaning in embracing the unknown. Certainty breeds complacency and shuts off growth. Liberation can be found in relinquishing what you think you know and embracing the mystery in noise. The noise in my work bridges physics and mysticism. Whatever the modality—science, art, spirituality—we learn and grow the most by engaging with the unknown.
How did you develop your fascination with noise as photographic subject?
By accident, as with most new discoveries!
How do you think growing up in New Mexico informs your work?
Growing up in Santa Fe, I was surrounded by spiritual traditions and practica. That’s deeply ingrained in me, but I can also be a little put off by it. I fundamentally believe in science, too. There’s so often a sense of either-or. It’s a blessing to have found a way to create a discourse that involves both.
Can you describe the photographs that will be featured in the exhibition?
This exhibition will feature photographs from a series called Urban Noise. The “street photography” explores architecture as allegory—bridges as passage, staircases or doorways as transformation.
What would you like people to take away from the exhibition?
I always hope people will start to question and get a taste of how engaging it can be to play with the unknown.