The two photographs featured here are currently being shown in an online exhibition by the Emerge Gallery in Saugerties, NY, entitled “Isolation.” Since I live alone and work from home as a freelancer, the isolation aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic didn’t affect me so much. What was clearly becoming detrimental to my physical health, however, was the confinement, the limitations on movement. Eventually I began taking my camera out on walks in places where I was unlikely to meet many people, and as restrictions were increasingly relaxed I widened my scope of activities. By mid-June this included a brief trip to Rhode Island–one of New York’s “approved states”–where I took both of these photographs.
Interestingly, then, my artworks aren’t about my isolation but, rather, convey the seeming isolation of the subject matter. Take Lone Boat in Fog (above). Appearances can be deceiving. The boat looks to be all alone in a bank of fog on Narragansett Bay, but looming up close behind it, and invisible despite its imposing size, is the iconic form of the Newport-Jamestown Bridge. I like that ambivalence about fog: It can serve to obscure some forms, and yet in so doing it can also clarify by bringing out only the form that I want to show.
And With Open Arms. I have photographed this piece of fence at different times of year so as to surround it with different colors, and each version seems to lend the fence a different “personality.” Here the cheery summer green gives it a welcoming, friendly look, and thus ambivalence is set up again as in the boat picture: This piece of wood, intended to exclude walkers from the sensitive marshlands at a National Wildlife Refuge on the Rhode Island coast, also appears to be greeting the passer-by “with open arms.”