The Ancients' Views
I am captivated by ancient Chinese paintings. I was intrigued after seeing my first painting when I was 12 or 13, and I never really forgot the experience. Over the years, I learned more about the art form and my appreciation for it grew.
The Ancients’ Views is a series of compositions from the Chinese gardens of Suzhou and the Huangshan Mountains in China. These locations are magical places; not surprisingly, over the centuries Chinese master painters were often inspired by them and painted them for both artistic as well as culturally symbolic icons. Being in the gardens of Suzhou and the Huangshan Mountains in 2013 was a particularly powerful experience for me as it allowed me the rare opportunity to see what the ancient masters' saw and apply their principles to my photographic compositions.
I use a contemplative approach to see my compositions, which derives from moments that awaken or provoke an emotional energy in me. Thomas Merton called it “… a direct experience ... a direct grasp of the unity of the visible and the invisible … a plain fact, a pure experience, the very foundation of our being and thought." Portraying and communicating this emotional energy is at the core of my compositions.
It is a privilege for me to create my work centuries after the ancient masters viewed and painted many of these same landscapes, even though our mediums are different. I feel profound gratitude to follow their process, which reconnects the artist and the viewer to the spirit of the Tao.