A one person exhibition of photographs

by Tom Andrews

at the

Dairy Center for the Arts

2590 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO 80302
303-440-7826 www.thedairy.org

September 23 - October 28, 2005

Tapestry is a fabric rich in color, varied in texture, intricately interwoven. Any walk through a forest provides infinite possibilities for photographs that might capture a glimpse of this tapestry - the complex, varied, and rich structure of the world. In a forest the interweaving is enhanced through the compression of visual planes allowed by photography – seeing into the forest, layer upon layer, all in focus. Or, we can find, all in one plane, the banded and eroded face of a rock – a complexity going back in time millions of years – seemingly permanent within the frame of our lives. By circumventing our desire for rational naming, an image of twisted rock can create an abstract tapestry that plays in the unconscious mind.

By contrast, views of sky and cloud, across miles of terrain, are astonishing in their impermanence, their fleeting nature, their immense displays of amorphous form. Near sunrise or sunset, the changing color moving among cloud shapes is like a rapidly evolving action painting. A photograph of clouds forms an image captured from the flow of time that cannot be recaptured even a minute later. The sky is empty of solid form, unpredictable, a manifestation and mirror of impermanence.

As a landscape photographer, I try not to search for photographs to take, but instead prefer to have photographs come to me. Photography is a form of meditation and as such requires an openness to the unfolding visual world. To actually see something, to pay close attention to its visual particularities, can produce a deep joy. The camera is a tool that facilities this vision. Weaving the eyes through the delicate beauty of a small area of leaves and stems in a shaded grove can seem so different from standing on a wind swept cliff watching a powerful storm moving across the horizon. Yet when we see what is before us, without words or concepts, we come to know the world and we reach to know ourselves.

Most of my work is created in protected natural areas in the western United States. In part, this work is homage to wild lands - our spiritual home, and an expression of the cumulative influence of that part of my life lived among rocks and trees and sky - those wonderful long days. To know land as a citizen, an ecologist, and an artist is sometimes to experience environmental degradation as a “world of wounds”, but also to experience transcendent beauty in this place at this time. Faced with minute detail and the immensity of space, the life we live is beyond our comprehension. In this exhibit I offer a few images that try to explore both the contrast and unity in our seemingly disparate ways of seeing.