Thursday, May 22, 2014

Beauty in Demise: An Example of Paradox and Dichotomy

Beauty in Demise - Photo c Lynda Lehmannn 2014

This is a studio setup inspired by some beautiful, lush branches of an orange tree that a good friend brought me to photograph.  I did a series while the leaves were still lush green, with bright, juicy oranges and delicate white blossoms attached.  

A week later, when the leaves had dried out and withered, I was stricken by the beauty/ugliness dichotomy and how the simple curling of individual leaves conjures "life" as a whole as well as some possible bird or animal forms.  I then contemplate "the wholeness of things," as I like to call it, when one example or kind of form evokes another, at another level of being.  From atoms to cells to tissues, organs, and organisms, similarities abound on a grand scale.  From the micro level to the vast universe, underlying principles that can't be articulated but only vaguely perceived, bind the cosmos into that elegant "Oneness" that scientists and quantum physicists refer to. 

If you would like to read a book that explores formal and functional similarities in biology and the greater universe as well, and will pique your sense of wonder, you might want to try The Lives of a Cell, by Lewis Thomas, M.D.  It's a fascinating read that affirms Dr. Thomas' subtitle: Notes of a Biology Watcher.  And it will give you prickles of what C.S. Lewis calls the feeling of "the numinous," that exhilarating and just slightly eerie feeling of awe and wonder that informs your spirit and lets you know that you in your humble human capacity, can still perceive great and mysterious things that are beyond our full apprehension.

I tried to arrange these leaves to get the most pleasing negative space, because I have always enjoyed negative space as well as the forms contained within.  As my painting style has most often been frenetic, full of furiously looming form and texture, working with photography to achieve a more minimal composition is a welcome move in another direction.  Have you done any minimal drawings or photos or penned a "minimal" poem lately?

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