Location: Somerset, NJ, United States
From the first day I began to make photographs seriously, I was drawn to creating abstract images. Using black and white film, I photographed in the manner of Aaron Siskin and Harry Callahan, seeking the abstract in reality: weatherworn rocks, torn bits of paper stapled to telephone poles, bare twigs breaching deep snow. I must have succeeded in this endeavor because people often did not recognize the thing I had photographed. This was satisfying because I had helped them see something in a new way.
In the past year, however, I found I’d become restless; no longer content hunting abstracts in the real world, I wanted to create them myself. Photograms seemed the perfect photographic process for this. I could play and experiment with objects, lines, papers, shapes, light, shadow, and texture in the darkroom to construct my own abstract creations. To paraphrase the artist Dorothea Rockburne, I wanted to create photograms that were of themselves and not about something else.
The mysterious ability of abstraction to move the human heart and mind has always fascinated me. When I photograph a beautiful tree I understand why people respond. After all, it’s a beautiful tree. When I create a photogram of a simple circle bisected by a line I have no understanding why it moves me or others, but it can. I love the cryptic nature of the conversation between art and emotion. Agnes Martin spent a lifetime creating her simple rectangular grid paintings in an effort to depict happiness on a canvas. What a glorious pursuit, and she captured it with a simple rectangle!
In the work shown here, all created this year, I have been exploring geometric abstraction, trying to figure out what I might create with just lines, circles, triangles and squares. The process is completely intuitive. I add and subtract shapes and layers until somehow they seem right. When it feels complete I stop and move on. A simple circle can spawn endless images. I'll be at this for some time to come.