Discussion of Quinquennial Retrospective (cont.)

    Several themes of particular interest to me are represented in this exhibit; firstly, sensuousness. Stone, when shaped by the hand of man ("Aphrodite"), as well as its more fluid state, sand, when shaped by the forces of nature, can be as sensuous as anything perceptible to us. The earth itself, if not grossly manhandled, manifests its own sensuousness, as well as a certain harmony with its current, still-learning custodians, as illustrated by the two images of "earthwaves" in the farmscapes near Tiebas, Spain and Torreyburn, Scotland.
    Stone occasionally manifests itself in more sinister ways to my sometimes paranoid mind. "Cyclops" is but one of a number of images I expect to present in an upcoming exhibition entitled "Stone Sentinels".
    The more whimsical side of my nature is manifest in two rather different images, both coincidentally centered around dinner tables: "Undivided Attraction" is a homage to my favorite cartoonist, Gary Larson, whom I can imagine here as a young child, conjuring up his first opus involving cows; and "What's for Dinner?" evokes a flippant mood regarding a subject originally intended for more serious purposes..
    The harmony and serenity of the attic room in the Kennixton farmhouse (Wales) and the DeLory Farm in Tracadie (Nova Scotia) both remind me that I have a 19th century (or earlier!) mind caught up in a 20th century body. A corollary to this rather Ludditic aspect of my nature is expressed in "The Arm" which exemplifies the dismembering effect of technology in an ever increasingly mechanized world that we are creating for ourselves and for our future - perhaps robotic - progeny.
    Much more comfortable to me are those of man's inventions where form and function are more compatible and aesthetically pleasing, as reflected by my studies of an organ pipe in Exeter, England, the Greek theater in Taormina, Italy and the neoclassical interior of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
    Finally, the images entitled "Rock of Ages" and "Spiral Staircase" represent, to me, polar extremes by which humanity interacts with both the literal and the figurative bedrock of its existence.
    In "Rock of Ages," I wish to portray humanity in a more natural, albeit diminutive relationship with the world, as manifested by two legs in the upper left corner of the image, clearly having little impact on the timeless bedrock over which they fleetingly tread.
    "Spiral Staircase" may prove to be more provocative because of what is to me the ironic symbolism of the bulletin board, itself a symbol of learning, blocking the way to higher reaches, manifested by the beautifully worked stone of the staircase. Some who have viewed this image find it disturbing, but I see in it a symbol of humanity's complex and often contradictory relationship with its own belief systems, which often aspire to lofty goals but which are sometimes obstructed by conflicting sentiments.
    It was almost a year after I made "Spiral Staircase" that Philip and Ina Trager introduced me to the work of Frederick Evans and I learned Evans had photographed the same staircase from the same vantage point almost a hundred years earlier, but with understandably very different results. More about Mr. Evans in my next exhibit.

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Exhibit Introduction

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