"An abstract painting is exactly what it purports to be, whether it be paint splatters or stripes, while a representational painting has to give the illusion of the paint being air, or flesh, or flowers … therefore abstract paintings are rather concrete while representational paintings are rather abstract." David Leffel
Taking a photograph, composing and separating it from its larger context and converting it to black and white immediately creates a degree of abstraction. Now, I can move away from a preoccupation with the photograph’s verisimilitude to reality and study with fresh eyes structure and form conveyed by shapes, patterns of blacks, greys and whites. It becomes apparent that meaning does not occur in the eyes, but in the mind. In this way, I recognize and am reminded that abstraction is a mental process which discerns what is essential and which separates what is essential from what is irrelevant.
However, where does this place photography which has traditionally interpreted and reproduced ‘real’ events, natural landscapes and portraits? Instead of photography being an art form in which reality can be frozen in a physical object, abstraction moves away from the concern with the creation of an accurate description of visual reality to a reshaping and transformation of the world into non-representational, conceptual compositions.
This body of work moves along the spectrum between realism and abstraction to give a visual sensory impression of feelings, thoughts or experiences. For instance, grasses energetically disturbed by the wind convey chaos and violence as well as stillness at the moment of capture by the camera while leaf veins suggest not only strength and support but also embrace and shelter. By photographing what is often overlooked, increasing contrast, eliminating extraneous detail, and standing back to see the vast complexity of larger patterns, I hope to show how abstraction works through implication, suggestion and mystery, rather than obvious description.