Supersaturated: Eric Cahan at FD Gallery


Eric Cahan might take the sky and ocean for his subjects, but his color-saturated photographs aren’t exactly landscapes. “I’ve become very interested in making a whole object,” he explained. “And providing a window into a memory and a time or a place where I like to be.”

The photos in Cahan’s current exhibition at the FD Gallery are certainly all about depth. Each piece is a virtually empty rectangle dominated by richly gradated hues, sometimes varying only slightly, sometimes spanning three or four colors. When a sliver of shellacked ocean or feathery cloud does show up at the bottom of the frame, it’s almost astonishing—the concentrated color intensifies nature’s tactility to surreal levels. Cahan uses filmmakers’ filters and mostly digital cameras (although “sometimes happy accidents happen on film”) to produce the images, which are equal parts flat color and limitless space. The photos were taken at either sunrise or sunset at bodies of water in California, Florida, and New York. The process of finding the right shades to bring out the sublime in nature is “very intuitive—the moment I see it, I feel the color that needs to be highlighted, that wants to emerge.”

Though Cahan has been photographing nature for years, his most recent work has been informed by time spent at James Turrell’s infamous earthwork labyrinth within the Roden Crater, where the landscape itself filters the light with the undulation of the underground tunnels. Cahan said the visit spurred him “to make my work larger and more multi-layered and multidimensional,” a direction he explores with his large resin wedge sculptures. The opaque wedges, which smartly round out the investigation of depth by embodying the same color gradients in three dimensions, also connected Cahan to FD in the first place. Owner Fiona Druckenmiller “had a resin wall in her space that evokes fire, and my photos are about sky and water,” Cahan recalled. “We were the perfect match.”