… on “thin ice”…

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.

  1. There are more “bad” photos than good ones (that’s why there’s 9 in this series and only 6 in the previous series.)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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.)

mobius faith imaging

I’d like to say that the creative muse has abandoned me. But I cannot say that in all honesty because she hasn’t left she has just been trying to help me understand my own work and take in new directions. I have no idea what the end result will be like.

I once wrote,

The photographic image is the tabula rasa up on which I ‘paint’.

And in the introduction to my first book I described my process thus,

I’ve never cared or desire to learn about my camera and it’s functions…. I am much more interested in the creative process and things that come from imagination and the human mind….I am interested in the “paints”, “brushes”, “strokes”, “Hammers and chisels” that allow me to sculpt and paint something new digitally. The images I create…in some cases…dissected,distorted and destroyed.

I’ve come to believe that the photograph in itself is not sacred, not art and just represents a fading, record of a moment, a memory, an occasion that is an illusion and pretends to be truth. Now I know a lot of people will want to argue and fight about that and that’s fine. I still take photos and am interested in abstract photography which I post on 500px.

I recently watched a film (only for the first time) and discovered that when it comes to creativity I definitely have Lettrist tendencies. That film was Lettrisme founder Isodore Isou. The film was VENOM & ETERNITY. In the film he states,

Photography is too banal… All attempts at angle shots, low key shots, double exposures… prove that one must go further…One must go beyond the image… And attack the film stock… Before anything, Photography must rot!

He then goes on to state that genuine film and photography as art must be destroyed and rebuilt outside of established conventions and expectations.

This really struck a chord with me. It’s what I’ve been doing for some time. I suppose it started in college when I was into punk and began to research surrealism, dada, situationist philosophy, etc that began to subconsciously shape my understanding of what is art and creativity.

The digital revolution has done two things. It has turned everyone with a cell phone into a photographer of the banal. If I have to look at just one more photograph of flowers, sunsets and cute children and animals I will become violently sick. But that is what has happened. The technology has turned everyone into a banal image taker. HDR photography has made it even worse because it pretends to be something it is not.

That was just the down side. BUT!!!!
There is also an up side to this digital revolution. It has given people with imagination new ways to destroy the image to manipulate it beyond recognition and create something completely new. I’ve always like Picasso’s quote (paraphrased), “The first act of creation begins with destruction”. That’s what I do. I destroy in order to create something new.

Here is an example of that work:
BUNGLE AND BOGGLE
bungle and boggle

With this clarification and understanding of my work and process I’ve started doing something different. Not content to just have prints of my digital work I have started manipulating the prints themselves. I have started creating “photo weaves” for lack of a better term. I’ve been taking the prints I have and cutting them into strips. I’ve then been weaving the different strips together to create a wholly new and different work. I did the first photo weave about 10 years ago when the photo processing lab started giving me double prints and I didn’t know what to do with the extras. I only created one at the time out of two 4″X6″ prints and then set it aside as something to remember. Now, this notion has come back to me. Here is a photo of 2 recent works that I made. They are not framed (yet) so apologies for the presentation but at least you will have some idea of the result.
PW#3 and PW#2
new art

references:
http://500px.com/mfimaging
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6W8IDDOLzQ&list=UUw9ChGBhMXy0UTwr2wvvVWA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isidore_Isou
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lettrism
http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/
http://www.saatchiart.com/mobiusfaith
http://www.blurb.com/b/5191852-visual-glossolalia-2-book-of-prophecy