Madelyn Jordon Fine Art is delighted to present “and something happens to the light”, a solo exhibition of photographs by New York camera artist Susan Wides. The exhibition will run from March 20th – May 1st, 2021. The opening reception is on Saturday, March 20th, 2021 from 12:00-5:00pm.
The title of Susan Wides’ new photographs and something happens to the light is a line from a poem Robert Kelly wrote in response to her work:
Sometimes / in the forest / you just don’t know
you walk right through a flower / and something happens to the light
you spin around / slim branches here and there / but something happened to the air… (1-8)**
Wides made these photographs close to home in the Kaaterskill Clove of the Catskills—the luminous mountain landscape favored by 19th c Hudson River School painter, Thomas Cole. Both artists’ works reflect on the spirit and experience of this place and its imperiled nature—today more severely than ever.
Every period has its own optical focus. (Laszlo Moholy-Nagy)
Wides’ mentor, the photographer Henry Holmes Smith who taught for Moholy Nagy at the New Bauhaus in Chicago, was among the inspirations for her deeper dive into the abstract. The works picture a fusion between abstraction and an ecologically-driven representation.
After scouting for spectacular light, waters’ flux, precise leaf color and geology, Wides constructs sets for her photographs by streams and rocks in the forests throughout the changing seasons. On-site, her process is one of call-and–response, as she works with the focus levels of her camera lens, the depth of her constructed set, and a spatial imagination. The immediacy of sensory awareness, bodily experience, selective attention, memory, color, and emotion all coalesce in a multivalent visualization of a site via the lens.
Wides captures an ephemeral light often made present only in the photographs. Sparkling light on water takes on distinctive shapes in an ambiguous space untethered from the streams depicted. These forms seem to press toward the viewer—gems of vanishing resources.
While these photographs are a continuation of Wides’ shift toward the abstract, drawing attention to the luminous color and light buried within the forest landscape, her work seems to have taken on a new meaning as we continue to navigate through these challenging times. Looking at the photographs now, the therapeutic power of nature is more prevalent. The trees and the rivers, transformed through the camera lens, are impermanent and healing. The still mountain setting is calming and for a moment, we too are able to renew our union with nature, and detach from the stress of today’s current events.