Modern societies attempt to understand and explain the mysteries of nature through various tangible human lenses such as science, technology, painting, literature, photography, etc. We also do so through more abstract methods such as “…intangible, metaphorical tools of the mind – contrast, remembrance, analogy…” And in both cases we “bring our own worlds to bear in foreign landscapes in order to clarify them for ourselves.” (Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams). In other words, we convince ourselves that these anthropological devices lead to understanding. But try as we might, our interpretations, theories, reproductions, and commentaries of the natural world will never truly do it justice. Through our various strategies, we impose and accept “rules” of nature as factual knowledge (space and time, up and down, close and far, light and dark, solid vs. liquid/gaseous, etc). And through these arbitrary conceptual binaries, we deny its’ overwhelming mystery.
As an artist, I recognize that I’m guilty of this as well. I paint symbols and tropes that we comprehend as landscape; mountains, sunsets, etc. But I relish the mystery of the natural world, and I’m curious what happens when we view nature through a lens that breaks the rules of our understanding. In my work, rules of perspective, distance, and light are bent. Space can become a solid object and places are folded on top of one another. Millions of years are compacted into a single instant and rocks become fluid. I strive to present a moment that defies human intervention in the landscape, and pays homage to the potential in the inexplicable.
- Adam Friedman, artbyadamfriedman.com
- January 24, 2016
- John De Plume