Scott McCormick -ORPHEUS
March 13th – April 24th, 2021
Photo credit: Amanda Tipton
Scott McCormick’s “Orpheus” is an orgy of mythology, dendrology, and geometry. The first piece that jumped out at me was an Esther Williams fever dream of bodies swimming in blackness. Each subsequent piece swims in meaning and technique. Handmade headdresses philander with painted backdrops, digital & analog photography, double exposure, and human models caked in clay. McCormick brings balance to chaos and finds structure in the organic.
Ryan Warner, public radio journalist, Denver, CO
Artist Statement –
“Orpheus” is the culmination of a year and a half of work from artist Scott McCormick. Mining the subject matter, compositional geometry, and visual aesthetic of 19th century French academic painters like Bouguereau, Cabanel, and Tissot, McCormick’s epic work defines an emerging and innovative photographic style. Utilizing both digital compositing and film photo techniques, combined with his own large, custom-built sets, expansive props, and headdresses, each image is a complex orchestration of divergent elements and techniques. The intricate composite images — sometimes utilizing over 600 photographs immixed together — achieve a sense of silent frenzy. The process of combining digital and film photography has allowed the artist to prospect a “prophecy-of-self” through his time spent learning.
In early stages of the work, McCormick immersed himself in the folklore of Greek, Slavic, and Mayan cultures. This sparked an exploration of the parallel between the art, as it was revealing itself, and the grandiose mythologies emblazoned on the world’s memories and creations. Throughout his process, the connection to these cultures illuminated itself wholly in the revelation that McCormick’s life as a musician, poet, and artist was reflective of the story of Orpheus. In, perhaps a divine sense of fate, each piece had a minimal predetermined direction at inception, and the connection (or purposeful disconnect) was often only discovered or understood after the photograph was finished.
Shedding the established traditions and procedures of his commercial work practice, McCormick limited the amount of preparatory sketching, and planned only the general idea of each photo, allowing each of the photographs to take on a separate life, unfolding in a through-composed storyline. The works in this exhibition explore ascension, disconnection, divergence, and a powerful sense of feeling for the audience all while thoroughly re-telling the story of Greek legend, Orpheus.
Artist Bio –
Scott McCormick was born in Waukegan, Illinois and started playing the piano at the age of 10. At age 13, he began a 21-year music career by playing gospel churches on the southside of Chicago. Since then, he’s performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, written/scored for ESPN and Disney, and led and performed in the internationally-touring band, Boulder Acoustic Society. He has taught music alongside Grammy, Tony, and Academy Award-winning artists at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington in tandem with Julliard School of Music. However, in 2011, he drifted from performing music and began a new career — starting his company, McCormick Photos & Design.
Over the past 10 years, McCormick has photographed, designed, and directed over 350 album covers. Among the world-renowned artists he’s worked with are: String Cheese Incident, Railroad Earth, Mandolin Orange, Gregory Alan Isakov, Big Head Todd and The Monsters, and Infamous Stringdusters. Infamous Stringdusters’ “Laws Of Gravity” took home a Grammy in 2017, and the following year, Gregory Alan Isakov’s “Evening Machines” was nominated. In 2016, McCormick won IBMA’s “Best Graphic Designer” for Infamous Stringdusters’ album “Ladies and Gentlemen,” and was nominated again for the award the following year. He also developed branding for the Opera, “Qadar”, produced by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art.
Scott can be found building sets, miniatures, expansive props, backdrops, and elaborate costumes to create a unique photographic vision from real elements. He works with startups and mid-level companies to define brand aesthetic and assists with marketing. His most recent Denver clients include Atomic Cowboy, Clinica Tepeyac, Swallow Hill Music, and Boost Counseling & Consulting. His photos and art have been seen in Rolling Stone, Vogue, The New Yorker, MTV, Vibe, and in Times Square. In 2020, he departed from music photography to pursue a career in fine art photography.