Robert Canali graduated from York University in 2011, where he received his BFA in photography. The artist is currently based in California, USA. His concepts are realized as photographs, sculptures, installations, and books. Often disparate in appearance, ranging from the cosmic, the psychedelic, and the nostalgic, his work offers a complex query about time, recollection, and the rapid advancement of modern life.
Canali has published three artist books, and he has been the recipient of a Regional Arts Award from the Brampton Council of Fine Arts and the Photography Honorarium Award from York University. His work resides internationally in both private and public collections.
About his project Screen Time, Canali wrote: “As the world changes in response to COVID-19, human connection is sought and strengthened almost exclusively through web-based conferencing. In Screen Time, this unprecedented moment in history is documented by merging the tools of today with those of the past, to create lumen print portraits via zoom calls. Participants across the world sit painstakingly still for 15 minutes while their likeness is captured by exposing live video feed from a tablet screen directly onto a sheet of silver gelatin photo paper.
The tablet that connects artist and subject acts as both conduit and negative, exposing photographic paper in real-time to produce a unique record of this shared experience. Following a brief interview, the subject selects music, which becomes the soundtrack for their portrait. The tablet screen is inverted, transforming the device into an illuminated negative, and then placed face down onto a sheet of photo paper. The subject and artist then sit, listen, and hope that exposure is made.
The process is an exercise in trust and vulnerability. This work challenges us to embrace the unknown and succumb to those in-between moments of uncertainty, where our reality is called to question and there is little we can do to influence it. These exposures will not record the world with absolute sharpness or detail, but rather with soft suggestive hues emblematic of the time spent together. Ghostly forms wait, their likeness and sentiment preserved.”