Rabbit Bay, Michigan, 2014
Green Label No Buff Floor Finish, 2014
Maple Lake, Minnesota, 2014
Finally, there is a related and more important reason for needing newly contrived art: all man-made things die away, and art is just one more of our vulnerable contraptions. It is an invention of symbols, a culling out and intuitive reassembly of items from daily life, arranged so that they will point beyond themselves. Serious photography, no matter how ‘straight’ or apparently objective, is this sort of invention, and, like everything else we devise, it can be depended upon to quit working. Eventually the symbols so outlast their original context that they no longer effectively point anywhere, becoming instead only artifacts for the documentation of cultural history.
We welcome contemporary art, then, for its power to please the eye, to record the texture of current experience, and to invest that experience with meaning.
- Robert Adams, “Making New Art”
Photo by Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs
At the back of our acre here, my wife and I,
freshly moved in, freshly together,
transplanted two hemlocks that guarded our door
gloomily, green gnomes a meter high.
One died, gray as sagebrush next spring.
The other lives on and some day will dominate
this view no longer mine, its great
lazy feathery hemlock limbs down-drooping,
its tent-shaped caverns resinous and deep.
Then may I return, an old man, a trespasser,
and remember and marvel to see
our small deed, that hurried day,
so amplified, like a story through layers of air
told over and over, spreading.
from “Planting Trees,” John Updike
Photos by Jo Ann Walters, Irina Rozovsky, Sharon Rupp, Doug Dubois, Sage Sohier, and Andrea Modica
Are you familiar with an artist’s note from the mid-1960s where Gerhard Richter accounts for his practice of making painted copies of photographs? It’s because photographs and their viewers only care for facts, he writes, and it’s very hard to turn a photograph into a picture simply by declaring it to be one. In its original context I think this straw man argument is forgivable. Admittedly, I have similar issues with wideangle photography. I know it’s time to fully embrace it, but it is difficult to make a picture through a short lens.
- Torbjørn Rødland in conversation with Lucas Blalock