Derek Albeck’s new body of work is comprised of an increasingly complex lexicon of images, all of which are tied together by his obsessive attention to photorealistic detail. Utilizing a host of materials and images such as mirrors, powdered graphite, charcoal, and spray paint, he creates finely rendered graphite portraits and intentionally crude masks in an attempt to navigate the elaborate maze of his own personal history.
Albeck’s newest series of drawings depict the disparate, frenzied moments that are usually the domain of the casual snapshot. What makes his use of these images noteworthy, however, is the carefully selected grouping of images that, as a whole, mimic a loose narrative rooted in his own personal history and memories.
Many of Albeck’s recent works also include photographic transfers rendered in powdered graphite, and in these he most clearly addresses the issue of memory. These images are intentionally degraded versions of an original, distant both in time and in medium, and as such they mimic what is most true about the act and object of memory itself: not only is the moment fleeting; it is evolving. A thing remembered becomes something different because of how we manage to hold onto it.
By reproducing these images using a refined set of techniques, all based in the tradition of drawing, he elevates a thing that had temporarily been present, perhaps only on the screen of a digital camera, into something that carries with it a tangible mass of time and technique. The moment has now been apprehended twice; once in the instant that it is photographed, and then again when enlarged and recreated in graphite.
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