online: 28 june 2008
modified: 21 june 2008

7/8 january 2008 wildwood

wildness photographed by Pete Davis* i looked at these large photographs (about 1.50 metres wide and about 1 metre high) of the wildest and least penetrable bits of forest, i went as close as i could to see if in fact they might be painted... but no, these are photographs, in which the smallest details are in focus...

...and when i look from about 30 cm (so that the photograph fills my vision) i suddenly feel as if i am IN the forest itself... a feeling akin to that of standing close to a colour field painting by Mark Rothko...

...and my sister Jennifer who is here too says that she also feels she is 'in it'... furthermore she feels as if in this nearly silent gallery she is hearing the sounds of rustling leaves and dead grasses etc as she imagines 'being there'...

...these reactions to large photographs of forest undergrowth, and the like, seem to me not to be like paintings or photographs but more like the actual presence of pieces of reality, as in a museum of physical objects... and the artist's choice of the most tangled and indescribable or undrawable parts a piece of woodland seems to force or to enable one to look steadily at such complex scenes without turning away immediately, as one might well do in in the forest itself... result of this is to bring into visual art, and into human life, the reality of some of the countless sights and experiences that we do not pay attention to because they seem too small, too incidental, too complex, or simply too irregular and unimportant to be recognised...

*an exhibition of photographs at the Oriel Gallery, Aberystwyth

for comfortable line length set the window to about two-thirds of the screen width


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