Doug Beube
Negative/Positive Aloe Vera

1988
silver gelatin prints, thread, plexiglass, ribbon
60 x 50 in.
Stitched Aloe Vera and Negative/Positive Aloe Vera are composite photographic books, both created from the same original 35mm negatives—in all, thirty individual images of a single plant. Both works also have an both opposing front and back sewn together by machine and hinged with ribbons. In the former book, one side is photographic, the other stitched in multicolored threads depicting the plant and my hands. In the latter, the opposing sides are comprised of a positive photograph and a reversed photogram, which appears like a negative print. Viewers can experience these works intimately visually, kinesthetically, or by direct contact. When as a book, or, when unfolded and hung, as a large photographic presence that can be observed close-up or at a distance. They can also walk around the work when shown in its clear slipcase or unfurled from a ceiling, where the gaps between the images reveal the exhibition space. With this ever-changing vantage point, each work offers its own narrative of discovery. The complexity of this piece emerges as the viewer appreciates the various relationships created by his or her changing vantage point. The interplay between the exhibition space and the gaps between the pictures invites the viewer to be challenged both by the scale of the objects seen in the individual photographic panels, and the ambiguities of perception..
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