December 18, 2017 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Meredith Garcia: Stone Free

Gallery: Studio 238

The artist’s photographs capture the essence of the geological formations of the American Southwest - taking them out of their usual context and viewing them in a new way.

 

Meredith Garcia on her work:

Abstract black and white photography is my passion. As the Polish avant-garde artist Wladyslaw Strzeminski once said, “Art is an individual way of seeing rather than about rote reproduction of a collectively agreed-upon reality.” This statement embodies the core philosophy of my photographic work. In the series “Stone Free,” I exercise the abstract spirit, capturing the essence of the geological formations of the American Southwest - taking them out of their usual context and viewing them in a new way. Abstractions of stones free them from their literal content and meaning, entering into the mystery of what constitutes reality. If art consists of the emotional brain of the artist communicating with that of the viewer, then the reality is in the eye of the beholder. With my photographs, printed in my Taos darkroom, I abstract the essence of the real world while permitting the viewer to find his or her own reality within that image.

 

In my previous life as a neurobiologist, I spent many hours taking black and white film photomicrographs of the brain – arguably the most beautiful and complex structure in the known universe. I retired from research and photomicroscopy in 2005, but my interest in photography continued. As I no longer had access to darkroom facilities, I moved into the world of digital photography, which I initially liked but eventually found unsatisfying – it was too easy and I found I was shooting images promiscuously, without really putting much thought into composition. In the fall of 2010, I decided to break off my intense flirtation with digital images and to return to my first love, black and white film photography. Using a Nikon camera with a 50mm lens, I have looked at the real world in a different way – at reflections and shadows rather than the objects that create them, or at abstractions of larger objects, taking them out of their usual context and looking at them in a new way. I find this focus on composition to be intellectually as well as artistically rigorous, but still productive of aesthetically pleasing images. My work continues the tradition of Ansel Adams, Minor White, and Jan Gruber.

 

Photography is all about light – it is the physicochemical reaction between a photon of light and a grain of silver halide that permits us to capture an image on film, and to print that image on photographic paper. The obverse of light is darkness, and the interplay of shadow and light in black and white photography makes this genre unique – pure composition, without the added distraction of color. This is what initially drew me to black and white photography – the Zen quality of the images, the yin and yang, capturing the binary nature of the universe.

 

Similarly, shadows – and reflections – of objects transcend their literal content and meaning, entering into the mystery of what constitutes reality. In the above image pair, which is real – and which is the illusion? If art consists of one limbic system communicating with another, which I believe it does, then the reality is in the eye of the beholder. In my photographs, I strive to distill the essence of the real world while asking the viewer to find his own reality within that image.