Artist Photo Statement

Up Close: The Effect of the Unnoticed

When it comes to camera work, I'm sure that most people are familiar with the idea that moving in close to things causes them to become less recognizable. Without context, when objects are not seen in their entirety and a complete picture of what we are capturing lies outside our visual field, things like surface details and textures (and their various relationships) take on greater importance. Pushed to its extreme, this lack of information allows these secondary features to become preeminent and the object's original form, along with its familiar meaning is lost, reduced to one that is purely visual, purely abstract.

In thinking about this, I began to wonder if contemporary art - its rhythms, textures, linear qualities, color relationships, even symbolism may have hidden unconscious sources that impact our creativity in deeper, more fundamental ways than we currently suspect. Unlike its scientific cousin, microscopic photography, this approach differs in that the limitations it is designed to overcome are not physical, but psychological. What we are seeing is not beyond the range of human vision (objects at this scale can be seen) but are merely things so small or (perhaps more importantly) so common they are rarely noticed, almost universally overlooked. This idea is borne out when we when we examine the disconnect between the picture's subject matter and their titles.

There's a definite sense of surprise we experience when, after being confronted by these photo's almost indecipherable content, we read their titles and suddenly realize what we've been looking at all along. We're struck by the realization that the beauty of objects we're viewing seems unfamiliar, almost alien, not because we've never seen them (we know we have) but because they inhabit a place beneath the range of our usual visual cues.They have gone unnoticed, again, not because we don't see, but because we don't look. And yet, despite this, they nevertheless retain a curious unconscious presence.

With this in mind, through a series of photographs specifically related to painting and drawing, I have attempted to "read between the lines" of our aesthetic sensibilities. I wanted to show how these hidden influences may be quietly working to inform many of our modern ideas of beauty - what we consider aesthetically "worthwhile." The look of a pencil line is not so very different from thin scratches in stone, or cracks on the surface of old wood, or those found in a pane of broken glass. The texture of aged concrete has much the same look as the built-up paint layers in the spontaneous brushwork of an abstract expressionist canvas. It seemed to me that there were direct direct connections between such objects (ones that were exposed to the effects of time, weather, and accidental events) that could demonstrate this.In a time when so much art is about art (an urge that represents a desire to emulate the accomplishments of our predecessors), the need to explore the notion of essence becomes even greater.