Chad Gerth

Artist Statement

Ice Cubes / Square Ice Cubes / Machine-made Ice Cubes, 2003         


This series came about as a result of being assigned the task of capturing “the best of Chicago at night”. Attempts at night photography failed to do justice to the cold complexity of Chicago, so I turned to my stronger, more abstract tendencies. These images are enlargements of photograms of ice cubes. Enlarged to show the details, each contains a surprising universe of organic forms and flaws. They reflect my relationship to Chicago at night in many ways: they are and portray the cold and darkness of night; they symbolize the social environment of Chicago; they are formed by and also sometimes form grids, like the map of Chicago itself, and; they reference the particularly cubic and modular nature of Chicago’s vast architectural history.


Chad Gerth is interested in the intersection of technology, commerce, and contemporary culture. His work comprises time-lapse images of LP records playing, flattened candy wrappers, and the architecture of urban driving ranges in Japan. He works in series, often treating his subjects as biological specimens or scientific studies. Since his emergence in the late 1990s, Gerth has developed his own unique style of photography including the use of photograms; passing light through broken glass and ice directly onto orthographic film to create enigmatic x-ray like images. 

Gerth has written about his work: "Photographs are two-dimensional by nature, so the extra-dimensional information on the surface must be deciphered by some other process, most often memory. Object and event become process; process becomes surface; the surface holds information which can be revealed but not decoded." Gerth was born in 1975 and received his BFA from Ryerson University and his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.