The Demeanor of Gravity

Sometimes words just slip off the page.
Each formed letter gently falling into a small pile on a black desk.
This happens inaudibly. There is no punctuation at the end of this falling.
When you try to pick up these letters and reshape them, they dissolve at your touch.
You are left only with vague impressions and blurred thoughts.
Fragments on your fingertips.

My head is full of art history texts about ‘the photograph’.
I’ve been thinking about photography, painting, and drawing, and how they relate to one another. The seductive pull of these things and how they feel so necessary.
I keep pushing this series further into the realm of painting, but I like what’s happening.

I am currently stuck on the word pencil. It feels full of meaning somehow.
(Have you ever looked at this?: The Pencil of Nature )

© Karen McRae, 2012

48 thoughts on “The Demeanor of Gravity

  1. I like the thoughts you express here and I like too the match between the words and the images. I have often thought how much you seem to value wide open spaces and how much you dislike being hemmed in by frames. Your work seldom ends at the edge of the printed image – it dissolves into a wider unknown and hints at something beyond, whatever that might be.
    I’m interested too in your second paragraph. As a keen amateur photographer I am conscious of the influence the art form has on the way I view/see the world around me. The relationship between between artistic medium and vision is intriguing territory and is not restricted to the visual arts.

  2. The interplay of your words and your photos show how art impacts our outlook, and good art makes a world of difference. Thank you.

  3. Your first paragraph is about the perception = originally perceived by our
    subconscious feelings >> then abstracted, categorized-form was sorted into
    the existing cast = this is the word —– hence slipped out letters which is not
    placed into a context, would backwardly suggesting original vague perception.

    Photography stands somewhat between = meaning has already been given
    yet it also invoke flesh perception to the viewers.
    In my eyes, your Seed-pod photo series are, your search towards the images
    refused to be categorized and converted into a words = in another words,
    the attempt to express your original perception / subconscious proto-thinking
    straight. = and you’ve been very successful, as all those photos made our
    mouth shut, if not made a jaw to drop. 🙂

    1. Yoshizen, sometimes I write a bunch of words and they just don’t really work, more often than not probably!
      I like the way you look at things, thanks for your words here.

  4. When William Henry Fox Talbot chose the title The Pencil of Nature, I expect he was still using the word pencil in its original sense of ‘an artist’s paintbrush’. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, that sense of the word continued into the middle of the 1800s, the time when Fox Talbot published his folios. In a similar way, if you take a look at

    you’ll see a Texas plant that once went by the name pencil bush, because its plumy tufts reminded people of an artist’s pencil. When we look at those tufts today, we see little brushes, not the kind of pencils that people write with.

  5. This series continues to be wonderful and beautiful.
    And, what an interesting link, I will have to spend some time with it. The first thing I noticed still has the ring of truth about it nearly 170 year later. I am sure my photography suffers from a lack of artistic training:
    “I laid aside the instrument and came to the conclusion, that its use required a previous knowledge of drawing, which unfortunately I did not possess.”

    1. Ephem, it’s interesting reading isn’t it?
      I admit I learned a lot in art school, but spending the time looking and practicing is really the most important thing. The exploration is a pleasure, and your explorations are terrific!

  6. Absolutely exquisite..magical art and beauty. It’s my first time here at your blog. Loving what it is you’re creating!!!

  7. I’m thinking about the same things. I am working on a post of a group of images showing the progression of a painting. I was alone in a little stand of trees where I was listening to the silence and the breeze through the trees. I painted the feeling of the silence. The painting progressed to the painting that began a red line series started a year and a half ago. My work is so crude beside your work. You are a master. Thanks for the Gutemberg link.

    1. Carla, I look forward to this post of yours. I have some trees to post myself…
      I am no master, Carla, but thank you! 🙂 I wish I could work more abstractly in painting but for some reason I struggle with this. I admire your gestural looseness – it’s something I am working towards!

  8. Karen, I’m struck by the multiplicity of relationships you are articulating in your writing and this visual series – and yes, all revolving around the *idea* of the pencil and what it can do, if not the object (immediately anyway!) One thing that has come out of my recent work is the intimate connection the line makes … the line of text, the line of ink or pencil on a page of handwritten work, the line made when one draws, the way light makes a line (or dissolves it) in photographic work … . They are all, each in their own way, about articulating space: the connections between spaces and ideas, the distances and divisions between ideas and perception, how we each articulate out situation in space and time, in relation to the objects we attempt to capture through the use of line in one way or another. And that attempt is a very important word in that last sentence … because it’s all so very slippery. Thank you for this work. You continue to amaze and inspire.

  9. Exquisite words and pictures Karen.. I live not too far from the Fox Talbot museum and it is such a lovely place to visit.. in beautiful surroundings too.. Thanks for sharing the link 🙂

  10. The images filled my mind this past Saturday morning, in that quiet time before the rest of the house was awake…sun coming in through the back window and mountains providing a wonderful backdrop. the tops of them anyway…and your images were there, quietly occupying their space…as they are still today, this evening. I won’t try to explain what it is about them, but they just are…. And I thank you for them, Karen….

      1. It was lovely, indeed, Karen…and your images are still there…they return without my prompting, actually…came to mind last evening when I took the dogs out before bed…looked up at the clouds around the moon and I had a flash of one of the seed-heads…don’t think I’m an obsessive weirdo or anything…they are just very striking and compelling images. You are welcome for the thoughts…and I thank you for sharing your gifts as you do….

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