Underwater Archaeology: Fantasies of a Snorkeler
showing through September 29, 2011
Reception during Arts! Arcata: September 9th from 6-8:30 pm
Ellen Land-Weber will be giving a talk, “Secrets of Photo Collage” in the gallery on Friday September 16, at 5PM. All are welcome.
1063 G Street, Arcata, CA
I have been snorkeling off the North Shore of Kauai for many years, with each swim discovering marine creatures that are new and fantastic to me (although common enough to the experts). Photographing that environment is a particular challenge since everything is in motion—me, the water, the fish–and the fish don’t generally stop for a pose. Add in the need for good light and clear water–highly unpredictable conditions that change very quickly–and the difficulties increase. But all that is insignificant against the double pleasure of swimming in the warm ocean while entering another realm as a mostly unnoticed observer. It is a visceral experience that is hard to explain, but deeply satisfying.
With my background in art history, I am also attracted to the statuary of ancient cultures and civilizations. On my frequent travels I seek out museums displaying these treasures, where I am usually allowed to take photos. Despite being far removed from their place of discovery, and the impossibility of truly understanding their original inspiration or purpose, these antique representations of the human form still exude a powerful aura. The five millennia-old, but strangely modern-looking Cycladic figures from Greek islands are a perfect example of the mystery. We call each female sculpture a mother-goddess or a fertility symbol, but really, we don’t have a clue. When it comes to the classical period of ancient Greece, we are much better informed, but are still powerless to enter the mind-set of the people for whom these statues were made. We make up our own stories.
The photo-collages you see here are inspired by the double mystery—the ocean environment and ancient worlds—with a good dose of fantasy thrown in. I make up my own “stories” about what they could mean. I hope viewers will do the same.