Piezo pigment prints, 2003
Images: 5 x 6-5/8 inches
(12.7 x 16.83 cm)
Framed: 29-5/8 x 23-5/8 x 2 inches
(75.25 x 60.01 x 5.08 cm)
Silton’s work has engaged the politics of identity since the early nineties, but she has often done so in ways that intentionally defy categorization and attempt to subvert human impulses to classify. In earlier series such as Self-Portraits (1995), Aviate (1998–2000), and this series, Twisters (2003), she used motion, or the implication of velocity, as a strategy to represent the mutable, shape-shifting self.
The images comprising Twisters are culled originally from relationships the artist developed online with several storm chasers. In the documentation of the tornados, there is the presumption of control; chasing the storm is an action which speaks both to a sense of thrill as well as the desire, in some sense, to capture it. Such documentation also speaks to the precariousness of subjectivity given the constantly shifting nature of a tornado. Silton started with color slides provided by the storm chasers. The original images—completely unaestheticized and shot on the run under pre-digital photographic conditions—were then digitized and rendered by Silton in black and white. The resulting images are intentionally ambiguous and erotic. In her reinterpretation of these shifting subjects, Silton plays with mutability—of nature, of body, of medium—challenging our assumptions about what we see and what we know. For the artist, the indeterminacy of a subject in constant motion renders meaning as fluid.