Monday, October 30, 2017

Guggenheim Application images: Magic & Logic.

  Magic & Logic is a series of KINETIC still life.  Definition:  A still life that requires a camera to see it.  Kinetic still life is burning, balancing, melting, et.  Images are more events than assemblage.  Many are not visible until the negative is processed.

  This series features images of new ideas never before seen in nature or culture.  As in the Blackfork Bestiary the subjects come from the yard, the street, the trash...the local ecosystem.  Mostly they are photographed on a tiny board stage.  Just the players change.  I regard this project as landscape-generated.  I'm primarily a landscape photographer.  When shooting landscape, God, (or the universe, or Gaia, (or someone with a larger prop table),  picks the props, arranges the background, handles the lighting, et, et.  The photographer just picks the viewpoint and the moment.  With these kinetic still life...I'm god.   My ideas have to measure up to, (at least), a sandy hill or a momentary rainwater rivulet.  Landscape and still life are two sides of the same coin.  If you are having trouble on one side, reset by flipping to the other.

    I regard myself as a slight surrealist.  A reminder in the studio says: "Make Man Ray Blink!"  If the imaged idea isn't delightful and surprising, back into oblivion they go.

  In order of application:

Flaming mushroom.

Puzzle Ice.

Illuminated Manuscript.

Fall Running Scissors.

Writing Light.

Deconstructed Magnolia.

Folded Frozen Flatware.

Puzzle Tornado.

Wisteria Scissors.

Handful of acorns.

I'm thinking about switching one:

Moon Pans.

  Now you know everything I know.

Guggenheim Application images: The Blackfork Bestiary.

The Blackfork Bestiary selections for  Guggenheim application.  "Blackfork" refers to the Blackfork Creek watershed where my home sits.  A Bestiary is an ancient catalog of animals.  All in the studio.  Human touch, containers, eye contact.  Vertical format as a book project.  There is a short story to go with each image.  These images are very much influenced by reading Bruce Chatwin and Barry Lopez exploring their thoughts about landscape as the generator of human culture.  All language, cultural customs, religion, technology are connected to and generated by the landscape.  You don't need 100 words for "ant" or the knowledge to fabricate a grass skirt in the arctic, nor do you need 100 words for snow or the clothing to survive -30 degree winters in the tropics.    I was mulling that knowledge while trying to puzzle out a vision in East Texas by orienting myself by watershed and Amerind trails and village sites.  I kept bumping into my fellow Blackforkians...and decided to take some portraits.  As soon as that creative foot was placed, they came cascading in.

  In order of Guggenheim presentation:

Fledgling American Crow;

Stacked Toads.

Bullfrog in beaker.

Black Widow in eggshell.


Snail Hand.

American Alligator and Texas Rat Snake.

Cicada hand.

Copperhead Martini.

Whitetail fawn.

  I admit sighing as I have to make this disclaimer, but contemporary contact with and knowledge of our fellow inhabitants of our ecosystems is so limited that people routinely ask:  "Are they dead?  Did you hunt them?  Where did you find them." et.  

  All animals are alive.  (Don't they look alive?)  All were legally handled.  Many were rescued from the edge of oblivion.  (Turtles trapped by curb and gutter on roadways, et)   None were harmed or stressed by the experience.  As any artist would tell you, they found ME as much as I found them.  Bugs from the yard.  An opossum from my 90-year-old neighbors garbage can.  A public school science teacher's Bullfrog raised from a tadpole.  Birds trapped in ductwork.  Crows blown out of nest in town.  Fawns mowed up in hayfields.

  The whole series is up at

  It all began with putting a foot on the landscape and searching out the way to walk and the way to think about seeing it.