I didn’t intend to produce such dark images. They just seemed to happen. The first came from a picture of some sponges along the beach, and the second is the old “Steeple Building” in the Christiansted historic district. Yes, centuries before its most recent reincarnation as a National Park Service asset, the Steeple Building was a Lutheran church.
These may reflect my growing sadness and feelings of helplessness in the face of the tragedy taking place in the Gulf of Mexico — especially as that tragedy is just one outcome of the free market fundamentalism that has us in its grip. While it may not be healthy to focus on the negative, it can also be a mistake to bury it and pretend the darkness does not exist.
The abstract images below started as photographs of one large mango and six small ones.
The first image is more or less the original mango colors. Stored sunshine. The other two emerged as I was working with the image. For me — even though there is little or no content to the images — they each evoke a different reaction and different feelings. While I have a favorite, looking at the three together raises a question.
“I like art that makes me smile,” I’ve been told. Many people do, and many also don’t like — and don’t respond to — art that evokes less positive emotions. But does that make it any less valid?
This is an old pot still used in the making of rum back in the nineteeth century. With its strange gooseneck this is a somewhat unusual-looking relic of the sugar-based argibusiness of the Caribbean’s past. The image is dark and muddy to reflect my feelings about that past and some of its effects on people that continue to be passed down through the generations, even today.
For a gorgeous oil painting of an ancient sugar mill, and a description of things that took place there, check the May 20th post from Bonnie Luria, St. Croix painter and fellow blogger. Honestly, we didn’t conspire to address the same subject on the same day!
Despite the best clean-up efforts of groups like the St. Croix Environmental Association, the shorelines here on St. Croix are sometimes littered with debris – mostly plastic. Some is left behind by careless beachgoers, but far more is deposited from the ocean itself.
Shield - 2009
That beautiful blue Caribbean Sea, an apparently limitless resource, is in fact full of garbage that drifts ashore. I think that sad fact was on my mind as I began this image.
This rocky shore had interest, but needed a spark to bring it to life. After some work, the rusty metal parts in another photo became the green shield tucked under the most interesting of the rocks.
As the image developed, it became darker and almost macabre — not something I had intended in the beginning. In fact, looking at it now, the feelings evoked are almost a surprise. Strange.
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