In this post, I include some recent work with readily recognized visual influences. See, for example, how the Flemish painter Watteau sketched and painted a lute player in the early 18th century. Then look at the hand carved antique stone statue in the studio garden that is around 100 years old. Then you can look at his picture of a young boy playing the flute, and compare it to the statue in the garden. I also add my favorite statue which I call “Our Lady of the Dead Pheasants,” whom I think might be the goddess Diana–the huntress–in rococo garb. The rococo is characterized by “rocks and shells,” which were used in ancient Roman grottos, and you can even see the petrified shells embedded in the limestone our statues are made of. In French rococo painting, we see figures in the garden, les fetes galantes so to speak. Man and nature in an elegant relationship, usually involving romance.
Now here’s the trick in my recent photographs. I combine what I intellectually am aware of with a sometimes bizarre and whimsical imaginative twist. This recalls my familiarity with 20th century surrealist painting, and literary fun and games, like Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.and Through the Looking Glass.”
Although I see myself as a colorist, I sometimes work in black and white (and all the values between). This is the first time I have worked in digital photography with both color and edited black and white. It is simple iPhone point and shoot, with the labor being the set ups. I just let the statues talk, and I bring from the house and studio the props I think they will “enjoy.” The rabbit was the most fun, and he is just a recent molded concrete guy; but after that photo shoot, I actually started talking to him. And in black and white, there is a nostalgic and often “fine art” ambience.
So the past and present awareness in our thought lead us into the future, with many roads converging at one point in the illusion of time and space. And that is where the artist’s imagination is made palpable by the physical construction that makes the painting, the photograph, the installation, or the play or film “real.” This is, in fact, where intellect and imagination, reason and creativity, coincide.