With her cameraless photographs, Meghann Riepenhoff (b. 1979; Atlanta, GA) captures the ebb and flow of time, examining humans’ relationship with the environment and our impermanent place within it. The artist creates cyanotypes, a process that entails exposing chemically treated paper to ultraviolet light. Riepenhoff places the paper on the shorelines of rivers and oceans, letting wind, water, and sediment imprint on the paper’s surface. Other times, the artist exposes the paper to rain or snow, revealing crystals, droplets, and kaleidoscopic patterns created by the elements.
Contrary to traditional photographs that capture a single moment in time, Riepenhoff’s cyanotypes rely on movement and change. Melting ice, falling rain, and ocean waves, which the artist considers to be her collaborators, impact the process and outcome of her work, making it so she can never capture the same image twice. Such a collaboration allows the artist to visualize the fluid passage of time, how moments constantly flow into each other and morph into forms anew, much like the water she collaborates with and portrays. In this way, Riepenhoff achieves the seemingly impossible, freezing the passing waters of time as they cascade and charge forward.
Meghann Riepenhoff’s work has been presented internationally in exhibitions across the globe, including at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Denver Art Museum, CO; C/O Berlin, Germany; and Aperture Foundation, New York, NY. In 2018, the artist was selected as the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow. Riepenhoff earned her BFA in Photography from the University of Georgia, Athens, and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. The artist divides her time between Bainbridge Island, WA, and San Francisco, CA.