Thomas Hagen’s portraits of the elements, chemicals, and biological matter are crystalline in their deeply detailed resonance. Earth, fire, water, even air and ether are represented and venerated for their power, as they exist in constant dynamic emergence. Chemical reactions sputter and coagulate in pieces such as Color Flow while billows of smoke fills a dark void in Black Smoke with fire underneath and a piece of black coal.
As a neurodivergent artist, Hagen is able to approach his subject matter in a way that is truly meaningful and unique. Hagen expresses layered multitudes and nuances in witnessing intricate processes and capturing them on white metal prints (a meta-understanding of its own noting that photography is a chemical and elemental process using chemical components that react to light). Through his work, Hagen demonstrates that the world is alive—constant molecular flux is the foundation of existence; and Hagen’s work is profoundly existential. Inspired by ancient Greek philosophy which delineates five elements—earth, air, fire, water and ether—Hagen aims to bring life to the time-honored scientific practices of inquiry, witness, and discovery.
Hagen lives in Amana, Iowa, and works in Homestead, Iowa where he enjoys conducting various experiments.