Nothing, in the World

With each new body of work abstraction claims a bit more territory in my reality-based imagery. This abstract work connects with other projects through recasting depictions of elemental nature. This is something new made from unused original images—some find a new direction and some go deeper into the original experience. These images were found on a meandering artistic path—in this case backing up to reinterpret previous ideas.

“Pictures of nothing” is a tongue-in-cheek description of abstract art. However, abstract photography always starts with “something” even if only light itself. This series lies between real and abstract. The particular minerals or plants here retain their physical form. Only color and orientation have changed—things somewhat subjective to the viewer anyway. My love of visual specificity, part of a continuing photographic investigation of the world, is at odds with an expressive desire to break free. Here I attempt to transcend the particular through itself. The final compositions intuitively hold the original pictures inside the new, as they contain but do not disclose fully the complexity of the original natural form.

Like Anna Atkins’ photograms of seaweed, these images are both faithful to the subject’s natural manifestation and distant from observed reality. This abstraction operates within the familiar by adapting, isolating, recontextualizing, and repositioning. I want to enrich the viewing experience not found in a straight depiction of known things. By abstracting, I allow these images the freedom of reference and interpretation that paintings, or other additive art forms, possess. I’m searching for their ability to be seen and reacted to as artworks in themselves without knowing “what” is shown.

Capture of light reflected by nature was the starting point for each image. Through an accumulation of vision (years working with nature imagery), I find the success of a composition is a matter of artistic satisfaction and personal taste. Inner vision is substituted for objective sight.

Through interventions of process (years exploring how digital photography works), I make subtle adjustments that build upon one another to create new images. Each image receives alterations specific to itself. This irregular processing reveals variations of detail. The intricacy of the natural world simply draws us in by itself.

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Prints made by the photographer on 100% cotton paper.

• The first 16 images are 24 x 20 inches (61 x 51 cm). Edition of 7. These are: 0329, 0299, 0211, 0745, 0701, 0305, 2007,1062, 0471, 0325, 1849, 0464, 3381, 0319, 0315, 1073
• The remaining 50 images are 20 x 16 inches (51 x 41 cm). Edition of 8.

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