Nature + Art
Scholars have long connected nature to art. Contributing to the research into how creative minds 'see' the world around them and importantly, how they choose to share those visions, have been art historians, materials experts and naturalists. Whether sketching or drawing, making a painting or creating a sculpture, artists relate to the world through their senses...they open their eyes.
The art and artifacts of prehistoric peoples - those items representing the artistic development of humankind - at their core, represent what preliterate man saw around him. They were our first authentic artists. Humans continue to discover materials and unique modes of transfer which allow them to make their observations, imaginations and spirituality tangible.
I am particularly fascinated by individuals who are compelled to use pigments or assemble materials in a manner that accurately represents what they experience within their regions. Their places.
Detailed, life-like representations of flora and fauna have long held my interest. While gazing at dandelions in The Large Piece of Turf (beautifully rendered by Albrecht Dürer), mesmerized by the flower studies of John Ruskin or the seemingly simple regional illustrations of children's author, painter and amateur mycologist Beatrix Potter...it is possible for me to relate to their places.
These artists - we know - studied closely their subjects to record them for scientific examination and illustration and to use them in large-scale works. Nonetheless...first, they had to see them.
As a photographer who seeks to "be a part of the world," more specifically the natural world, I relate to artists who reveal a similar relationship. We - I believe - immerse ourselves in the literal spaces around us, choosing to ignore the trappings of developed society; our focus is on what we see. Those unruly clumps of turf, stands of thistle and clusters of mushrooms others pass by...they pique our interest. We may or may not know why: they simply do.
I am especially interested in the work of Andrew Wyeth. As a child growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania, he wandered the fields and forests. And he recorded what he saw. He never stopped. I am intrigued by his desire to observe (and record) the natural world - the places he walked every day.
Beginning in 2018, I am looking more closely at his words, his work and his places...