As a person living with AIDS, Kurt Weston faces the prospect of a significantly reduced life span. He deals with threats and decay daily. It has been a bitter battle just to stay in this world.
The photographs in 'Hearts of a Silent Age' are about the realization of loss and death. This project displays Weston’s fascination with the concept of longevity and the process of aging. As a result, he began photographing senior citizens, capturing the lines on the faces of lives long-lived. He felt privileged to work with such fascinating individuals who shared their life histories layered with a diversity of experience and emotion.
As this work evolved, Weston became interested in imagery that envisioned metaphysical hyperrealism, seeking to represent that which resembles, or in essence copies, the idea of the inner being.
Weston entered the field of contemporary art with extensive art education. He possesses an MFA in Photography from California State University, Fullerton, and a BA in Photography from Columbia College, Chicago. This is combined with fifteen years working as a professional fashion photographer. In 1991 he was diagnosed with AIDS and in 1996 became legally blind due to a related condition, Cytomegalovirus Retinitis. His limited visual acuity, total blindness in his left eye, and limited peripheral vision with no central vision in his right eye allow him to see the world, much like it appears in an Impressionist painting. Weston also experienced one of the most evident manifestations of AIDS, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, which produced purple-red lesions all over his body. He was easily identified as having the disease and experienced the stigmatization many people living with the virus endured during this time. The inscription of illness and the resulting disability have become part of the impetus behind much of his work.
Flatbed scanners have a very shallow depth of field – commonly half an inch or less. Flesh against glass is vivid and detailed, but anything more remote fades quickly into blur and black. Thus, these images become a transmogrification – the falsity of perception and the truth of time. They are a temporal hallucination, so to speak, a mad image, chafed by reality representing the body and the psyche as dissolving and fragmented. By amplifying and simultaneously passing beyond the corporeality of the individual represented, Weston renders the topography of time, perceiving what is dead and what will die.