Temporary Presences Exhibition, Nailya Alexander Gallery (2012)
Temporary Presences Exhibition, Nailya Alexander Gallery (2012)

Photographs & Sculpture

Clouds reveal the ever-changing shapes of air currents constantly flowing around us, which are usually beneath our awareness. Photography became my primary vehicle for exploring the temporary spatial structures in the sky. Searching for an even better way to communicate this deeper understanding to others, in 2009 I started hand-coloring parts of my prints with pastel pencils. These prints have been exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Nailya Alexander Gallery (photo at left), New York; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA (see Exhibition Installation photos below); and Hillyer Art Space, Washington, D.C.; and in group exhibitions at the Delaware Museum of Art, the New York Hall of Science, and other venues.

See selected photographs, a sculpture, and other exhibition photos and project description below.

Overview: This series began with a question: how are forms and patterns in nature generated and how do different variations occur? Readings on the subject led me to chaos theory and complexity theory, which view the world as dynamical systems cycling in a constant flow between stability and instability, order and disorder, information and noise. I started to understand natural formations differently, recognizing rhythms and patterns — albeit complex ones — in what at first appears random and chaotic. My background in making painted relief sculptures for several years caused me to look at these systems as forms subject to forces operating in a three-dimensional field. Photography became my primary vehicle for exploring the temporary spatial structures that I was now discerning with the insights of science.

Searching for an even better way to communicate this deeper understanding to others, I started hand coloring my photographic prints with pastel pencils. I chose my images for their poetic expressiveness and aesthetic impact. The hand coloring process is a contemplative one of discovering the deeper levels of the underlying structure and resonant details. The representational force of photography is key. I may have altered the tonal range and some of the color information to bring out the spatial qualities of the subject, but I never distorted or augmented forms. What you see in these images was all there.

I integrated the hand coloring gradually and selectively; it does not cover the entire print. Many of my prints are at least 40 inches in one dimension, which projects the viewer into this recognizable, yet strange, environment.

As I hand-colored the photographs I searched for what those formations indicate about the particular conditions of the moment. These are temporary presences captured at a particular point in time, emotionally resonant moments selected from an ongoing stream of possibilities, never to be precisely repeated. I'm also very interested in connecting art with the insights of science and the issue of our relationship to the environment, both of which are topics of vital importance to the future of humanity, and yet are often not well understood by the general public.

In 2007, I collaborated with a 3D imaging technology firm to produce a sculpture from one of my cloud photographs. That sculpture is shown under the "Other Prints & Sculpture" tab in the slideshow above.

Some of the works shown here are sold, however, I accept commissions for larger or smaller hand-colored prints.