Randy West executes the majority of his photo projects as series with marked attention to the form, material, and tactile quality of his subjects that when seen through a photographic process morph into imagery beyond each object’s recognizable identity. Incorporating an act of sculpture into his prints, West’s work is often created by digitally scanning objects into the computer, eliminating the camera and traditional film processes. Drawing and printmaking have influenced much of his photographic career, and while he references abstract artists such as Cy Twombly and Harry Callahan, noting their attention to the quality of a line, he does not identify his own work as abstract. His lines reference his interest in calligraphy and the calligrapher's brush stroke, where thoughts of structure and the refinement and movement of the line are crucial. West believes it is through a formal, minimal aesthetic that ideas appear.
Born in 1960 in Indianapolis, West received his B.F.A. from Ball State University in 1984 and his M.F.A. from CalArts in 1986. He is currently director and a faculty member in the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. West has received numerous awards including an Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant. He has had two solo exhibits with Bruce Silverstein.
He began his exhibition career in 1990 with three solo shows in Los Angeles, On Our Way to Heaven at the Pasadena Armory and the Jan Kesner Gallery, and Flowers + Grass at Opus Gallery. He has since exhibited internationally including at the Aperture Foundation, New York; Art + Design Museum, Los Angeles; International Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg, Austria; International Center for Photography, New York; London Lighthouse; San Diego Contemporary Art Museum; and the Washington Center for Photography in Washington, DC.
West’s photographs have been collected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; Fischer Collection, San Francisco; Aaron Siskind Foundation, New York; and the Pasadena Arts Commission, California among other private collections. He lives and works in New York City and the Catskills in upstate New York.