The first time I met Chris Engman was at the MOPA exhibition Staking Claim, in 2013. I’d had the privilege of visiting one of his land installations (the Claim, made as part of High Desert Test Sites and still accessible today outside of Joshua Tree National Park). I had also run across Chris’s work online or in an exhibition, somewhere. They stuck with me like all good photographs do—even without a direct association of where (or when) you remember seeing it. Apparently that’s how my mind has been hard wired in this lifetime.
As I got to know Chris’ work I couldn’t help but think it was akin to John Pfahl’s photographs (see: Blue Right Angle, Albright Knox Gallery Buffalo, NY 1975 above), but taken to the next level. Speaking as a huge fan of John Pfahl’s work, I make this statement carefully and with a complete understanding of how loaded a statement like that can be—both to compare a young artist to that of a legend, and knowing that the two artists have different means, aims, and intentions with the work they produce.
We’re proud to have Chris Engman joining us at Medium this fall, kicking off our lectures on Sunday Oct. 26 at 9:30am. His photographs stand in a league of their own. A photographer, yes, but Chris’s work is as much about performance and installation as it is photography. There are secrets hidden throughout his images, and while many of us like to keep an air of mystery about how artists work, it will be a pleasure to hear him speak about his photographs, and possibly reveal a secret or two that encourage us to keep looking harder.