Next to a modern glass office building on a busy street was a small patch of weeds about the size of an executive’s desk. In the center stood a shiny brass fire hydrant. It looked almost like it had been put there on display, as though this were some sort of zoo.
Urban details like this often provide visual clutter rather than interest. But this fireplug in the weeds became the inspiration for two very different reflections on an urban landscape.
Cloudscapes from the Heartland are two more examples from a series of abstracts begun about a month ago. Originally meant to be evocative studies in color, texture and motion, some have become suggestive of landscapes and other scenes. Both of these images began as landscape photographs — one of Sarasota Bay in Florida, and the other of a wind generator in the flat lands of Iowa.
Compared to images with an unambiguous subject, abstract images can be more difficult for many people (perhaps most people) to appreciate and understand. One goal may be to find a middle ground where allusion to a subject adds substance and depth that complements the simpler pleasures of line and color.
Funnel - 2012
(Three of this series of abstracts were among more than 300 pieces submitted to a juried show at Art Center Sarasota. All three were accepted, and one received an honorable mention from the jurors.)
The dead trunk of a palm plant washed up on the shore. At one end was the tangle of roots joined to the base of the trunk. At the other, the spiraled remains of where the living palm fronds had been attached subtly tailed off into fibrous strands. These two semi-abstracts are interpretations of each end of this single object that had washed ashore.
We no longer trust beauty as a serious means of investigation. But it can be ... In fact, beauty can be incendiary; it can be subversive; it can make us cringe.
-- David Maisel, Photographer
"It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it." -- Anais Nin
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders of the universe, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.” -- Rachel Carson