Because my prints are almost always multi-layered or collaged, often incorporating video-generated imagery, I consider myself more of a digital print maker than a fine art photographer. Print projects bifurcate into abstracts and the Koan series. Many of the abstracts are unique in that video feedback, a process exploited by video art pioneer Nam Jun Paik, played a significant role in their creation. In the new Bardo series, influenced by ideas unique to Tibetan Buddhism, fractal compositions float above backgrounds created from still frames captured from video feedback imagery. Allow these works to jolt your mind into a new state of awareness.
The inspiration for the Ganseki Koan series occurred during one of my regular walks along the Asilomar shoreline in Pacific Grove where rock formations, battered by wind, rain, sand and waves, were transmogrified into natural abstract friezes and bas reliefs. I began to sense faces and anthropomorphous forms in these eroded outcroppings. The aha moment happened when, in my mind’s eye, deep rock fissures replaced black borders that separated disparate images featured in earlier Koan series prints. (See website.) Returning with my camera, I proceeded to capture compelling sea rock compositions that would serve as backgrounds for super-imposed images culled from my photo archives — chiefly faces from out of the distant past representing our rich cultural and ancestral diversity. Intricate details draw the viewer deeper and deeper into the work; the more one looks, the more one sees. Superimposed collage imagery includes faces from ancient sculptures and more recent portraits, masks from many cultures, fragments of engraved texts, some considered sacred, and skulls, bones and fossils from natural history museum display cases. As these long-gone visages gaze out upon you, the living, you may find yourself contemplating your own mortality. Let them as well as the Bardo compositions confound conventional thinking and transcend mundane interpretation as well as encourage intuitive contemplation beyond the surface of what we see.
Through the abstracts one can glimpse cosmic ruminations where completely unknown forces are at play. Natural phenomena such as elements of light, clouds, water and earth merge with video-generated forms, fractal imagery and digital brush strokes to imagine concepts of dark matter, dark energy and recently detected gravity waves. Our universe overflows with ineffable wonder. Explorations of time, place, energy, thought and memory provide the springboard for both the abstract compositions and the Koan series.