Artist Statement – Hidden Within (2012)
As a recent transplant from Colorado, I noted Southern California’s year-round green foliage, something that I could mostly experience in the summer season in the Rocky Mountain State. Here, no matter where I looked, I saw green plant life and deep down I was quite content to say Good-bye to Colorado’s winter blues!
Seeing green is great, but I began to explore and photograph the intricate patterns, fragile textures, and color ranges of various tree barks and found a variety of wonders open to visual interpretations, and one became a favorite subject: the California Sycamore. These trees at a certain age – not too young and not too old – provide superb photographic opportunities as a starting point for further processing and design, during which they literally take on a new personality. As I began to ‘play’ and post process the sycamores, I reached back to my love of geometry and symmetry. I spent hours experimenting with the original picture, and as the image evolved into a finished abstraction, I was surprised to see a life like image from within glaring back at me— a wild cat. The unexpected hidden face of an animal immediately gave me a new direction. I started looking at my existing bark images with different eyes, trying to imagine if I could cut and process them to produce pictures with faces in them. I also began to make photographs of the bark differently, envisioning the outcome even before squeezing the shutter. The results are a series of magical creatures hidden within the abstract patterns of the sycamore bark.
During the creation process, I began to talk about these trees and their unusual bark to adults and children and they began ‘seeing’ with a new eye, a new point of view. They too began to look at other trees and found patterns, colors and textures with personal meanings and visual experiences. It is at this point that I felt that I had reached my project goal of bringing other viewers closer to nature’s special beauty, Hidden Within.