Sanctuary—Palladium Prints by Timothy H. McCoy

Artist’s Statement

"Sanctuary" is a concern embedded in the "collective unconscious," a term coined by the psychologist Carl Jung for archaic, archetypal psychic structures inherent in the human mind rather than those based on the experiences of one's personal life. "Sanctuary" embodies hope and refuge in response to fear and loss—here seen through the lens of time.

Sanctuary can be as obvious as a castle poised on a mountaintop, seemingly impregnable. However, sanctuary can be violated, and the ruin remains as a witness. The ruin itself symbolizes the fragmentary, abandoned, and forgotten and stands for history as a process of decay, neglect, and loss. In Last Refuge—1244, the ruin at Montségur was witness to the massacre of the last of the so-called heretical Cathars (the Pure Ones) by the orthodox forces of the French crown and the Catholic church. The journey, e.g., Begin, Walk On, can be the active search for sanctuary which over time can be gained or lost. Death can be either a gain or loss of sanctuary. In Eternal Vigil, the graves are attended by surviving loved ones. The tower, the tree, and the low-lying clouds are themselves symbols of celestial watchfulness. A vision of sanctuary may also be a primeval Eden, as in Pas de Deux.

I used the "alternative process" of palladium printing for this portfolio. Negatives from my antique 8 x 10 inch Deardorff field camera were enlarged to 16 x 20 inches. Translucent vellum paper was coated with a pure palladium metal solution, exposed to ultraviolet light, and then developed in warm (100 degrees) potassium oxalate. The combination of heated development of the palladium coating on translucent vellum produced a brownish image that resembles parchment—an allusion to the passage of time. The hard paper surface yielded exquisite detail and an etching-like effect, thus partially denying the image's origin as a photograph and emphasizing my interpretative rather than documentary intent. In the language of The Keepers of Light, by William Crawford, this imparts a printmaking syntax.

Each image in this portfolio is printed in a limited edition of 15. Call or email me for price and availability.