Cheryl Rossum is a fine art photographer working across a broad range of genres. Her images, suffused with a strong sense of light, shadow, and movement, challenge classical perceptions of time and space. The artist’s work has been alternately described as surrealist, impressionist, metaphysical, and abstract.
A graduate of Barnard College with degrees in art history and literature, she began work as a photographer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and later for Apple Computer, Mobil Oil, Northrop, and The New York Stock Exchange. In a field customarily dominated by men, she elevated corporate industrial photography to a fine art by exploring the integration of man and machine. The New York Times called her work “museum-quality.”
Inspired by mosaic pavement design and Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Rossum has produced a series of aerial landscapes she calls “Plazas.” Geometric and enigmatic, each is meticulously woven from up to 60 individual photographs she has shot from helicopters and tall buildings. The shadows of those who traverse the plazas challenge our initial perception of reality and force a close engagement with the print. Seen as mazes, labyrinths and sundials, the photographs encourage metaphysical questions about man’s identity and direction in modern society. Each image in the Plaza series may take up to a year to complete.
By contrast, Rossum’s photographs of nature, both landscapes and abstractions, are created by a single time exposure of several seconds. The interaction of light, wind and tide produce images that are fluid and kinetic. Nature etches its own journey across space: light records the movement, forms merge and mutate, and color is heightened; revealing nature, in microcosm and macrocosm, as dynamic and creative.
Rossum’s photographs are produced in limited edition to the highest degree of archival permanence. The artist prints her own silver gelatin prints. Until 1996, she made her color prints in the Dye Transfer process with Guy Stricherz and Ilene Mali of CVI Studio in New York City. She now prints color in archival pigments on Hannemuhle Photo Rag Baryta in her own studio and at Bowhaus Los Angeles with Jessica Lindskoog.