Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Frances Seward's Photographs and the Separation of Light and Dark

Light is fundamental...foundational. We cannot exist without light. In Genesis, the book of stories that western culture has long used to explain the beginning of time, light was the first thing created once the heavens and earth were in place on the first day of creation.  After creating light, God separated light from darkness, then used them to mark changes in the day and the year.

We cannot have one without the other...light without dark...dark without light. One enables the other to exist. This is so fundamental that most of us never really pause to think about it. Artists, though, do think about it. Artists think about light, measure light, and study light. Artists essentially paint light and dark...in the context of the subject of the painting or photograph or artwork.

 The Silence                               The Power of Light                         Abstraction

Frances Seward, through her amazing photography, presents light (and dark) in a rather stark, unadorned, and uncontextualized manner. Seward has three pieces in Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition: The Serious and Playful Sides of Light. When I look at these pieces I cannot help but think about the concept from Genesis of light separating from darkness. Seward took these photographs at just the right moment to capture the sense of movement that suggests that the light and the dark are pushing and pulling against one another in order to ultimately separate from one another. Indeed the separation of light from darkness is a captivating and miraculous event that happens over and over again at each day's dawn and dusk. In Seward's works, we do not know whether we are viewing dawn or dusk, and it does not matter. After the separation is complete, either light or dark will prevail, and it will be day or night. The important part is that in her works, Seward has captured the intensity of the process...the intensity of the process of separating light from dark.

Frances Seward's The Silence, The Power of Light, and Abstraction are available from Still Point Art Gallery. Contact Christine Cote by email or at (207) 837-5760.

Back to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
January 12, 2010

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