we live in an over-saturated world of images. Images are everywhere we go. In fact they are so prevalent they are becoming mundane. Boring. They’re primarily “pretty” photos of realistic/recognizable subjects (objects, landscapes, people, animals, plants). Abstraction is seldom seen and seems to be less and less appreciated. Is there still a place for abstraction? And what is it?
First, abstraction in photography is very different from abstraction in the paint/sculpture arts. Abstraction in photography is merely the “capture” and/or presentation of any deviation from the perceived norm (no matter how slight) and therefore more passive. Abstraction in painting/sculpture is very different. Painting/sculpture is an active medium unlike photography. In painting/sculpture the abstraction is created compared to documented. And it’s this creative action that I think gives a viewer pause to consider what “it” is. Can photographic abstract also be the result of a creative action? I think it can – but is extremely rare. Because of the nature of photography; abstraction has become such a generalized category that it has become redundant.
Now about our world. In addition to being overly saturated with heavily saturated images is also, thanks to technology, is moving at a faster and faster pace. There is no rest. There is no contemplation. Even the internet with its myriad blogs, photo sharing sites, art sites, etc is not conducive to slowing down to consider what we are doing. The internet has created a culture of clicking “LIKE” and moving on. In one minute I can look at and “like”/”fave” a hundred photos.
For this reason I think there is more and more a need for true abstraction in the painting/sculpture sense. Because these type of abstracts are more likely to cause us to slow down (maybe even stop) from time to time and consider what we are looking at and how we feel about it or what it means to us. So bring on the abstraction. Deviate from the norm. Give people a reason to pause and “rest” on your work.
The images I’m including today are photos of something people would NEVER photograph. I went to the park the other day – one of my favorite hangouts to decompress. I went to photograph some winter scenes etc – you know the kind of stuff everyone photographs that I described at the beginning of this article. The kind of stuff we DON’T need more of. But most of the shots I kept were These here today. Shapes and textures of salt melting ice on asphalt pavement in the parking lot of the park. For me they have their own intriguing wonder.
Your music moment today is a track titled Awakening by Greek artists (and friends) MK-O from their album ETHER. For me this song has the kind of energy I feel in these images. The kinetic energy of salt melting ice. Check out their website http://www.mk-o.com for more.
I’ve taken quite a few nature photos lately combined with a new urge to create new works. The two works in this post were both derived from the heavy manipulation/creative edit of the same nature photo. How were these created? All I will say it stems from a sense of play and exploration while working in Photoshop. I hope you enjoy these latest creations.
And for you cryptographers out there I used a simple code to transform the titles themselves into abstractions. So with a small effort you’ll be able to decipher the titles. Enjoy.
Your music moment today is provide by Havenaire. This track is “Calving” from their new album RABOT on the Glacial Movements label.
…faint glow of incense burning
night of a thousand warriors
plum blossoms in the rain…
As many of you know visually, I “see” in abstract. It’s just the way my mind works. Some people see gorgeous sweeping mind altering landscapes but I like to get to the “nitty-gritty” of things. Looking at the common in a way that makes people stop, question, and consider what they are looking at and how they feel about it.
Abstraction is often confused with surrealism but it is not the same thing. Surrealism, in my opinion has more to do with pictorialism. Surrealism shows easily recognizable things in fantastical setting[s] setting up uncommon and at times illogical relationships. Abstraction on the other hand tends to zoom in on details to the point that the viewer is not sure what they are looking at. It purposefully alters either in presentation, or creative manipulates the subject to the point of no return focusing on shapes, lines, patterns and spaces which results in more of an emotional/psychological connection for the viewer. Even if the viewer dismisses the work as balderdash, crap, f’d up, worthless, pointless, etc, they still have had an emotional response to the work.
The two series I am posting today are examples of my abstract way of seeing nature. This latest project focuses on images from a frozen lake. This first series involves subtle manipulation of the image by increasing contrast, desaturating color etc. It consists of 6 images simply titled Lake Ice #1 – #6.
The second series is the result of trying to figure out what to do with the “bad photos” from that frozen adventure. I always try to salvage my so-called bad images. And that salvage process usually involves manipulating them to the point of oblivion. This series is titled LAKE ICE EXTREME #1-#9 and tells us some valuable things.
There are more “bad” photos than good ones (that’s why there’s 9 in this series and only 6 in the previous series.)
The acronym for this series is L.I.E. which basically says that what you are looking at is a lie of the mind caused by extreme manipulation of crop, color and exposure.
While you may not recognize what you are seeing; I think we need to ask ourselves, “What is missing?”, “Does what’s missing matter?”, “Out of sight, out of mind?”, and “How does this increase or change our understanding of nature and the world around us?” And those are questions each individual has to answer for themselves.
Other considerations are “Why square?” – I was able to crop out a lot of the unmanageable parts of the image and the square crop helps us center our focus (in this instance).
Color is a tricky thing. If I’d left it natural they all would have been a dirty blue with some brownish tones and white. When I decided to change the color to make the image a little more disorienting I was surprised to find that each individual image had its color preference. For example if the image is green (as in #) it’s because that’s the only color that “felt” right. Honestly the red/purple/blue/yellow options just didn’t fit. I always find it amazing how once you get started the artwork seems to dictate it’s own color palette. I’m curious if painters and other artists feel the same.
I also envision these 9 images displayed together in the following configuration.
(you can “right click” then open in a “new tab” to view larger versions of individual images for more details.)
This is a wonderful series on abstract art. I found it inspiring. I hope you do the same.
Youth chases after and follows its bliss
The aged remain and rest in their bliss
and neither can tell you where it may be found
Youth is controlled by passion
The aged controls their passion
Youth rushes foolishly head-long to learn
what the aged already know, and have taken years to learn
The error of youth judges the aged
The error of the aged criticizes the youth
And neither respects the other
The aged were once youthful
As the youthful will one day be aged
Neither should be rushed.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE
It’s the only thing in life you can truly count on.”
THE ULTIMATE APP
NO DEVICE NEEDED. NO POWER SOURCE NEEDED.
THE MENU IS ALREADY WITHIN YOU!
VERBAL AND NONVERBAL OPERATION.
THE ONLY SECURE NETWORK.
*While results are guaranteed, satisfaction with those results is not.
Another entry from my journals…….
I feel gravity.
The invisible net
cast over me.
Weighted to hold me down.
Resistence to slow me down,
pressing in on me,
doing its very best to squeeze
and crush the breath out of me.
Having tried to think of God
as freedom, boundless, expansive
Creator of endless possibilities ………
What if God is merely the cage?
The trap, or pen, to corral all that IS free.
A reaction to regret.
Regret of even imagined freedom.
The body is the cage of the spirit.
Gravity is the cage of the body.
Invisible bars to restrain and hold back
the abandoned Tower of Babel.
Like the word cages and traps the idea.
In the beginning was the word…and the word WAS God.
Maybe Atheism is the cure for God!
The destruction of gravity’s cage.
The release of the spirit; free-flying bird.
The soaring on eagles wings.
Seeing, comprehending, knowing
The perfection of silence –
The unspoken truth of all things.
Silence: all that ever was, is and will be.
That perfection that comes immediately after
the last sizzle of water extinguishing flame.
The beauty of darkness and quiet.
Silence has no gravity.
******* About the artwork: Messages From the Future #19 (created 2013) is a digital, photo-based creation intending to question the spoken and written word. It highlights the paradoxical viewpoint of language as both lie and life simultaneously. A self-negating notion. “Silence is golden.”
In the video [link above] Ed Moses talks about his early work in the 60’s & 70’s.
My personal take-aways from this talk.
Art is proof that we exist. It is our “mark” that is no different from footprints in the mud or handprints on the cave wall.
Art is a path we travel that documents our journey from confusion to reality. The journey is the goal.
Art is about our attempts to control our environment only to realize we don’t have any control. Or, as he say’s “…realizing that I don’t want to be in control, I want to be in-tune.”
Click the link above for the video. Enjoy.
And if you like the first video here is another great video of this artist.
This is a selection from a series of images (so far totaling 30). In this series I am exploring the edge of image through over-exposure. All these images were taken on a photo-walk in downtown Akron one Sunday morning. Just more of my further adventures in Non-representational, non-pictorial and non-objectivism with the camera as my paintbrush. It was interesting when I submitted these to my printer they contacted me and were reluctant to print them because there was so much white. I assured them that this was intentional as I want to explore the very edge of photography and question what we define as a photograph. I’m glad I insisted. I just got the prints and they are gorgeous!
I’m imagining them all hanging on a wall next to each other much like this presentation here where they create details of a much larger work.
One of my favorite poets is Philippe Jaccottet; from Switzerland (the country of origin of my ancestors). Here are two quotes that Fit this series and the soundtrack that I’ve selected for this presentation.
“White as the absence of colour, or death;
white as the essence of color, or, perhaps,
“Things can fall apart again at any moment.
I can barely hold on to them, if I hold their shadows.
What I devour like a desirable meal is perhaps no more than absence.”
~ Philippe Jaccottet
The soundtrack I’ve chosen for this is An Ending (Ascent) by Brian Eno.
A photo-based digital creation.
Asking & Hearing – posted as a tribute to the late Ornate Coleman 9 Mar 1930 – 11 Jun 2015.
Cheers to the man who showed us “THE SHAPE OF JAZZ TO COME”. He also taught us that the “CHANGE OF THE CENTURY” would affirm “WHEN TOMORROW IS THE QUESTION!” and answer “FREE JAZZ” and involve “THE ART OF THE IMPROVISERS”. Right up to the end he espoused “THE NEW VOCABULARY.” Thank you for teaching us the “DANCING IN YOUR HEAD” and opening our eyes and ears to all of life’s possibilities “IN ALL LANGUAGES”.
“The idea is that two or three people can have a conversation with sounds, without trying to dominate it or lead it,” Coleman said in a 1997 interview with the French philosopher Jacques Derrida.
“What I mean is that you have to be — intelligent,” he said.
“I think the musicians are trying to reassemble an emotional or intellectual puzzle, in any case a puzzle in which the instruments give the tone.”
He had a notorious relationship with music labels. His groundbreaking works were considered on the cutting edge and he had little patience for the industry’s business side. “I’ve never had a relationship with a record executive. I always went to the record company (because of) someone that liked my playing. Then they would get fired, and I’d be left with the record company,” Coleman told Cadence Magazine in 1995.
The continuing exploration of over exposure. This adventure began in my previous series “LUMINOUS IMPRESSIONS” [which can be seen here https://www.behance.net/gallery/24471909/Luminous-Impressions ] In some ways I think over exposure is a perfect metaphor for the internet era. When a photograph is over exposed it leads to “white out” situations where details become fuzzy and unrecognizeable. I wonder if that’s what will happen to us on the internet. Will too much exposure lead to a sort of personal and cultural blindness? And, is this a bad thing?
On the other hand – because of over exposure where things are not easily identified we are left to explore other realms of the over exposed image. It can give us new feelings and be an almost spiritual exploration into the non-pictorial and non-representational image. In other words, because we cannot readily identify something we are free to redefine it on our own mental, spiritual and emotional terms. Ten people can look at a photo of a kitten and all agree that it is a kitten they are viewing but when the image is over exposed each individual can come up with their own interpretation of what they are looking at.
Click “play on the video” then click on the first image and you will be able to see it large and then press arrow button to go to next image.
Adventures in the sleepy town of Sandusky, Ohio. A small town on the southern edge of Lake Erie, a former bustling industrial and fishing port that is re-inventing itself as a resort town. It has come a long way and will soon be the tourist magnet they hope to become with industrial spaces being converted into lakefront condos and shops, eateries etc galore. And they seem to be making a fine effort at restoring/preserving some of the old historic buildings downtown. But for now enjoy some of the remaining grunge of spaces in transition. As a soundtrack click “play” on this wonderful instrumental song, SANDUSKY, by Uncle Tupelo
All Images taken on 5/17/15
All works available 20″ X 30″ on Aluminum
THE ENOCH CODEX
I have long been interested in language. The written and spoken word are abstractions of ideas. Spoken it is a “performance” but when “written” becomes “law”…. To get back to the original idea we must often deconstruct language. Irreverence is the highest form of art. Even language has a life cycle 🙂
Enjoy this…the music of Philip Glass from SYMPHONY NO. 5.
Track#3 – “The Creation Of Sentient Beings”
The image above is another work using my “visual glossolalia” approach to creating digital art. It is comprised of the text from seven different photos of signs etc. Added a couple of texture layers for effect.
About the Title. A codex is simply a book that was written on wood or papyrus etc – in a world before paper. Often a codex is affiliated with ancient and “dead” languages from which a code/law is documented. Who is Enoch? The first disappearing act in history?
Enoch walked with GOD; then he was no more, for God took him. ~ Genesis 5:24 (JPS)
It’s interesting that in these early accounts of lineage in the bible all other descendants of Adam are listed as having “died”. Only Enoch is listed as “was no more…for God took him.”
There are other stories of “magical” disappearances like the later story of Elijah(Eliyahu) in 2 Kings 2:11, “Eliyahu went up into heaven in a whirlwind.” and even the ascension of Jesus (Yeshua) in Mark 16:19, “So then, after he had spoken to them, the Lord Yeshua was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God.” It may be loosely related to the story in acts of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:39) where “the spirit of the lord snatched Philip away.”
All these disappearances in the Bible. But Enoch was the first. What happens when the meaning of text disappears and all that is left is the text itself? Can it still be understood? Is one meaning replaced with another? And when this happens how can we be sure of the right meaning? This is something that also happens with translation where the meaning of something is changed when the language is changed from one cultural context to another.
What do you think?
“Language is a virus from outer space.” ~ William S Burroughs