Multimedia, Photography, Printmaking, Visual / Media

"Temporality" is a meditation on time, impermanence and memory, with the use of light sensitive materials as tools for documentation. This work includes large scale black and white digital photography, video and sound installation, and historic photographic processes.

About the Artist

Sherry Insley is a mixed media artist working primarily in photography, video, printmaking, and artist books. She also has a background in metal smithing and contemporary jewelry. Sherry has an interest in the history of photography, especially the crossover of science and light sensitive processes. Sherry Insley is a MSAC IAA  winner, a SURDNA Foundation awardee, and a 2018 Artist in Residence through the Hive Maker Space. She has exhibited her work locally and nationally. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from UMBC and MICA. Currently, she is an instructor at Carver Center of the Arts, a nationally recognized audition based magnet fine arts program. She can be found in Baltimore City most of the time, and at the salt marsh the rest of the time.  


Artist's Statement

         The Ghost Forest series is an ongoing photographic documentation begun in the summer of 2022. Depicting the emergence of ghost forests along the mid-Atlantic coasts, particularly in the DelMarVa area. When salt water is pushed inland into freshwater ecosystems due to storms, rising sea level, and climate change, the salinity of the soil becomes too high. The Atlantic White Cedar is particularly susceptible to the high salinity, and is the first species to die.  The skeletal white trunks standing against lush landscape are sounding the alarm of a changing climate. This stark contrast is both beautiful and disconcerting, creating visual and literal gaps in the density of the forest.          My work with historical alternative processes such as lumen printing and anthotypes, further examines the relationship of photographic images with time and impermanence. The prints cannot be fixed with traditional darkroom chemistry, which is decidedly not environmentally friendly, and will fade away in ambient light. In the Ebb project, I collect seaweed, plant material, and found objects from the areas near ghost forests. I contact print onto photographic paper leaving the translucent silhouettes, and attempt to stabilize the images with saltwater. Here salt water is an agent of preservation rather than destruction.          The Threshold series captures temperature inversions over the ocean that create a sense of being unmoored due to the obscured horizon. It is an absence of footing, and a feeling of disorientation. This atmospheric phenomenon and feeling of uncertainty are temporary, as the horizon vanishes and then reappears. In Untethered a sound and image installation, I am revisiting images from Threshold, and replacing the disappearing  visual information with sound.  Using low frequencies, reverberations and higher pitched tones, I aim to influence the viewer's sensory response to the images.         Additionally, I am interested in the physicality of photography. What does it mean to use a tool that documents and preserves, to create images that intentionally disappear? Conversely, if the photograph lasts longer than the subject, is it that image that is  committed to memory rather than the subject itself? Can reflections and experiences become fabrications or byproducts of photography? Photographic images can serve as witness and documents of record, as well as manipulate and influence time.  

Featured Work