My fascination with lichen began with my recognition that their tiny complex forms are fractal analogs of life on a larger (and smaller) scale. It is this that makes lichen an intriguing metaphor for wilderness.
My fascination with lichen began with my recognition that their tiny complex forms are fractal analogs of life on a larger (and smaller) scale. It is this that makes lichen an intriguing metaphor for wilderness. Lichen are such a small but powerful force; they can live on exposed rock in very harsh conditions. They slowly dissolve the rock they inhabit, contributing to soil formation. In his book “Lichens” William Purvis writes “vegetation dominated by lichens covers 8% of earths land surface… they act as carbon sinks by consuming carbon dioxide used in photosynthesis and therefore play a part in delaying global warming”.
Pseudospheric, alien-like forms grow on islands, propped up by shining metal structures; this otherworldly scene looks unfamiliar until the viewer realizes that the structures are actually staples. The natural forms are lichen.
A high resolution digital camera allowed me to see details that were not accessible to my naked eye. I discovered little gardens within the forests, other forms of lichen growing on the lichen I was studying, grains of sand that look like boulders. The lichen islands are mini ecosystems. I chose to present the lichen as small islands; photographed from their “ground” level to give the viewer a more familiar vantage point. These are miniscule still lives photographed with very shallow depth of field; they are a tongue in cheek reference to the popularity of tilt shift photography.
I am seeking to draw attention to the increased fragmentation of natural environments. “Wilderness” was once something that existed outside and beyond human habitation; these days “wilderness” areas are cut off from each other and surrounded by human intervention. In my paintings I have been exploring nature in the abstract; in these photographs I am striving for a more intimate connection to my subject matter.
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