Ten months into a lockdown that has meant my spending more time than ever close to home, I am revisiting Raymond Meeks work Ciprian Honey Cathedral. I am drawn into another domestic space, this one shared by Meeks and his partner Adrianna Ault, as they prepare to move to a new house. I glimpse the detail of their life together. Gestures are rhythmic and intimate; the repeating ritual of sleep allows a pause to the conscious narrative. It is an ode to home that recognises the tensions, and in this moment of transition, the connection between them deepens.
– Emma Bowkett Juror, Hariban Award 2020
Raymond Meeks is renowned for his use of photography and the book form to poetically distill the liminal junctures of vision, consciousness and comprehension. In Ciprian Honey Cathedral, he brings this scrutiny close to home, delicately probing at the legibility of our material surroundings and the people closest to us. Meeks has long been fascinated by the way we construct the world around us; how we carry our possessions, these accumulated comforts, inheritances, markers of material success; how we adorn homes with trees and shrubs, a mantle clock to count the hours. Stumbling across an abandoned house or unkempt lawn becomes a search for common clues to tiny hidden transgressions. This question of knowledge and understanding is perhaps most drastic in our solipsistic reality. Meeks also photographed his partner, Adrianna Ault, in the early mornings before she awoke, on the threshold at which daily domestic life converges with the deepest state of sleep. This plight of supine trance is a place of reprieve beneath the surface of consciousness, free from the chaos and uncertainty of the sentient world above, and alludes to the veiled threat that we are utterly unintelligible to one another.
Raymond Meeks has been recognised for his books and pictures centred on memory, ephemerality and place — the way in which a landscape can shape an individual and in the abstract, how a place possesses you in its absence. In 2014, a mid-career retrospective of his books and prints (Where Objects Fall Away) was organised by Light Work in Syracuse, NY. The exhibition featured more than twenty books, including artist books and trade editions. His books have been considered as a field or vertical plane for examining interior co-existences, as life moves in circles and moments and events, often years apart, unravel and overlap, informing new meanings. Raymond Meeks lives and works in the Hudson Valley (New York). His work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Bibliotheque Nationale, France, and the George Eastman House, with recent solo exhibitions at Casemore Kirkeby in San Francisco and Wouter van Leeuwen in Amsterdam. His book Halfstory Halflife (Chose Commune, 2018) was a finalist for the Paris Photo/Aperture Photobook of the Year Award. His most recent book Ciprian Honey Cathedral, was published by MACK in late 2020. Meeks is a recipient of a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography.