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Means of Reproduction no. 615, MARAH MACROCARPUS (wild cucumber)

Means of Reproduction

For five years I have been collecting seeds and seed pods from various plants I encounter in my surroundings. They fascinate me in part because they are infinitely varied and ubiquitous yet unfamiliar and even strange. They inspire me to ponder the complexity of life, the nature of time, and how we humans relate to the natural world today, when nature has become more exotic than modern technology.

I read that all plant life on earth evolved from a single species that transitioned from sea to land. Infinity from singularity. Scientists say this is how the universe began. When I look at a tree with hundreds or thousands of seeds, I see that tree as a universe unto itself. Shaped over millions of years of evolution, each seed on that tree stands for the kind of time we humans cannot perceive. Each successful seed determines the character and destiny of the next tree.

This project builds on Karl Blossfeldt's book "Art Forms in Nature," published in 1928. Like Blossfeldt, I am concerned with design and form. I am also concerned with color and with the concept that Georgia O'Keeffe, in her 1938 painting, called poetically "the faraway nearby" ⎯ the macro embodied within the micro. In my large-scale prints, I isolate the one from the many and enlarge each subject many times without regard for its actual size relative to others. Haloed, they float in a minimalist color field, an illusion of a seemingly empty space. Inspired by Irving Penn's "Small Trades" and Richard Avedon's large portraits, I aim to bring the concept of portraiture to the still-life genre.

I believe that to understand the world, sometimes we need to focus on the small detail, look hard at what is close to us, and glean a picture of the whole from these small insights. I hope that this personal collection of images will illuminate some aspect of life's amazing transformative power.   PDF