In the past several years I have simultaneously felt an escalating curiosity about and connection to the past and have been drawn back through time, beyond my family and ancestors, beyond recorded history to the dawn of humankind and the animals that preceded humans.
Bones are what remain after we die, but they are, for me, an expression of longing to be identified with something beyond myself, something planetary. I feel mystery, reverence, and awe in the presence of these fossilized remains. What is ancient reminds me of our deep connection to nature and each other, a bond easily lost in our fast-paced, high tech lives.
These series address concepts of time, wherein bones from a time in pre-history are in dialogue with the 21st century, though my manipulations of the images. In the first series the fossil was distinct. In successive series, the fossil became less distinguishable. One saw parts of the whole—remnants of remnants.
In this new series I have zoomed in even farther to create mixed media images which sit on the boundary of abstraction. Hints of the marine fossil bone structures occasionally remain, but most read as abstracts, adding a sense of the unknown and inviting viewers to imagine and fantasize. Colors are bolder, more vivid and contemporary, as are methods. In earlier series the foundational layer photographs were created in the wet darkroom, and in this series they are created digitally. Layers of wax, worked into the pieces, add richness, texture and depth.
Through these manipulations the focus in these archeological abstractions shifts from the shapes and forms of the organisms to the patterns and rhythms which underlie and enable all of life. Compare the roots or branches of a tree with the vascular system or neural network, or look at the bilateral symmetry of virtually all multi-cellular organisms. The same unchangeable laws of math and physics form all. Perhaps the wax imbeds, preserves, and reveals these patterns in the same way that a tissue specimen from the body displays aspects of our internal history.
Primal images touch us humans. We register, at some level that bones are composed of tissues and cells and DNA, and we know that we come from those fossils, that a piece of us is therefore in each image. I suspect viewers will experience, even if at an unconscious level, something of the power of the ancient source of the images and will experience a connection to them. Perhaps they will “feel it in their bones".