August 17, 2011

Nature Nourishes Group Exhibition at ArtSpace Hartford: Images and Artist Statement

(Hope to see you at the opening reception: Friday Aug 19, 2011 6-10pm ArtSpace Hartford, 555 Asylum Street, Hartford, CT, 06105  If the parking lot behind the gallery building is full, across the street is parking at the train station.) 

The tipping point for me:  during the year end holidays I saw a man walking through a mall in Boston, lovingly cradling his iPad, looking at the screen with reverence and love, oblivious to reality taking place around him.

Inside Looking Through
I find this approach living troubling and distressing.  It's akin to reality TV:  sitting and watching other people live their lives rather than having a life yourself.

This iPodus Americanus sighting prompted a New Year’s Resolution:  spend less time on the computer.  I have written fewer blog posts and more postcards, spent fewer lunch breaks in front of a screen and taken more walks, and have embraced the here-and-now of physical reality rather than an untouchable cyber one.  I’ve read novels, used dictionaries and phone books, and spent more time outside.

Like a Shell and Seeds on a Pod
I am not against everything digital.  I am, however, talking about perspective.

Using a digital camera, for example, allows for freer experimentation, due to instant image feedback and zero costs for film and processing.

Earth, Water and Flora
This freedom spurred the creation of the images submitted to Nature Nourishes.  Earth Water and Flora and Visible Photons  - Do thoughts Have Mass? are in-camera multiple exposures.

Visible Photons - Do Thoughts Have Mass?
I used a slow (½ second) shutter speed and moved my camera during the exposure to create the impressionistic Like Butter.

Like Butter (Sunrise Over the Connecticut River)
Often in the morning, on my way to teach, I stop alongside the Connecticut River to meditate.  Many times I pause my practice to grab a camera and shoot (see the double exposure - Cycles of Life).  These in-the-moment experiences with nature feed me.

Cycles of Life
I recently photographed anti-nuclear activists holding a vigil in Brattleboro, VT on the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.  Brattleboro is 6 miles from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.  Vermont Yankee's reactor is the same model as those at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

Nuclear fears began to grip me during my next morning meditation, as my riverside sacred space is about 17 miles downstream from Vermont Yankee.  “Is the water radioactive?” I wondered.

However, as I sat in my car and focused on my breath, I felt that the flowing river connected me to all beings.  “We are all vulnerable,” I thought.

Suddenly, a moist, warm, nourishing breeze blew in my car window and carried my fears out the other side.


Sabrina said...

A breeze undoubtedly carrying pollution from sources like your car and coal plants.

Again, it's disappointing to read imagined connections made between Vermont and Fukushima.

Congrats on the show.

John Nordell said...

Good to hear from you again, Sabrina. I thought I lost you on the last Fukushima reference. - John