Tumblin’: An Interview with Erin O’Malley
Despite its compositional complexity, Macrophotgraphy is one of the most accessible currents in contemporary art. It doesn’t require an interpretive vocabulary, and the images themselves are—in most cases—the very opposite of referential. Sure, understanding the staging, lighting, and technology involved in the work does enrich its consumption, but macrophotography is a monomanical, primally visual thing—it’s pure representation, at a state of being that escapes classical definition.
Erin O’Malley’s macrophotography is perfect in its depth of engagement and accessibility. Rather, it’s perfect in its balancing of those two important factors. Her work plunges into ethereal pearlescent clifftops, blasts into the hearts of storming nebulae, and melts into Venusian waterfalls. But the best thing is that Erin’s macroimages are also none of those things: it’s pure light and surface, and never so defined as a particular scene or subject. The viewer is in a state of complete vulnerability, captive to the work’s indeterminacy and disorientation. It’s no-thing and anything simultaneously, and that anarchic vitality imbues each piece with a totally singular depth. And its this representation of pure phenomena make O’Malley’s work electrically unique within macrophotography and art as a whole.
She’s also super cool and even more dryly funny than I expected. I spoke with Erin over the last few weeks, about her work, plans, odd memories and her unfortunate ignorance of 70s television superheroes. Enjoy.
What’s the worst food/meal you’ve ever eaten, and under what circumstances?
My ‘worst food’ experience happened a long time ago but I’ll remember it forever. My sister created a concoction of hot sauce, mud, soap, and mustard, and proceeded to convince me it was a smoothie. I swallowed a decent gulp before realizing the treachery.