September 20, 2015_1:53:09

Susan Wides

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  • 2015
  • chromogenic print
  • artist notes
    “We have to develop an optics,” said Cezanne. Cezanne did not think he had to choose between feeling and thought. He did not want to separate the stable things which we see and the shifting way in which they appear; he wanted to depict matter as it takes on form, the birth of order through spontaneous organization… the feeling of strangeness, [and] that of the continual rebirth of existence…to make visible how the world touches us. Maurice Merleau Ponty, Cezanne’s Doubt, 1945 this—seasons draws on our inherent kindred alliance with the environment to propose a renewal of vision—an experiential encounter between mind, body and nature—out-in-the-world, rather than mediated by technology. In doing so, this body of work reflects on our distance from environmental extinction in the anthropocene. Working on-site, a camera and the unique focal properties of its lenses map the immediacy of sensory awareness, beauty, and impermanence. The focused / defocused lens replicates elusive and shifting perceptual awareness. The way the eye darts from place to place across a field, selective attention, peripheral vision, and the movement of the body through space coalesce via the lens in a multi-layered visualization of a site. Languages of the lens and abstraction embody color as pure energy, the bleeding of borders between things, shapes illuminated from within. Sharp details and transparent and opaque spaces seem to assemble, dissemble, form and reform through time as the viewer experiences the works. The photographs of this—seasons (2014-2016) were made in the Kaaterskill Clove in the Catskills, New York, the inspiration for the Hudson River School artists. Their work was grounded in a vision of a grand, majestic nature that fit with their ideas about Manifest Destiny and imperialist expansion. Today, nature is degraded, fragile and in urgent need of preservation. this—seasons considers how life does not merely exist in an environment, but because of it, through active interaction. Today the dominance and acceleration of technology have deeply affected our relationship to time and space and have corroded our ability to be truly present. In this climate, this—seasons aim for a deceleration—of time, a slowing down, being present.