The English scientist Michael Faraday, whose experiments with electricity and magnetism enabled the practical use of these forces, once said “All this is a dream. Still examine it by a few experiments. Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature; and in such things as these experiment is the best test of such consistency.” To understand the world one must interact with it, one must experiment. Charland’s art combines scientific curiosity with a constructive approach to making pictures. He uses everyday objects and fundamental forces to illustrate experiences of wonder.

In Back to Light, he expands on a classic school science project, the potato battery. By inserting a galvanized nail into one side of a potato and a copper wire in the other side a small electrical current is generated. Many people have had the fascinating experience of drawing power from fruit in the classroom, and this always brings a smile to the face. This work speaks to a common curiosity we all have for how the world works, and a concern for the future of earth’s energy sources.

“Since all this is a dream my hope is that these photographs function as micro utopias by suggesting and illustrating the endless possibilities of alternative and sustainable energy production. The cycle that begins with the light of our closest star implanting organic materials with nutrients and energy, is re-routed in these images, Back to Light, illuminating earth once again.”


Charland is an American artist who grow up in Maine. He spent much of his childhood helping his father renovate their family home. This work instilled in Charland an awareness of the potential use of materials and the ability to fabricate his visions. Charland earned a BFA in photography, from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2004, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as a Trustees Fellow, in 2010, and was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2009. He recently received the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in photography for 2016.

His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, notably in solo shows at Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon (2010), Michael Mazzeo Gallery, New York (2011), and Gallery Kayafas, Boston (2013). His work is represented in several major collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Progressive Collection, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and he is featured regularly in literary publications.



Charland currently lives and works in Maine, USA.