Artwork by Barry Guthertz and Donna Forma. On display January 5–February 12, 2017.
Sometimes art helps transport viewers to another world, but Nature’s Abstractions does the opposite: it draws us in rather than out. The photography of Barry Guthertz and sculpture of Donna Forma are not only firmly rooted in the natural world we inhabit, they more remarkably capture something of the scale and sensation of our place in it.
Barry Guthertz’s work has a deep, spiritual component that distinguishes him as an artist and seeker. Guthertz, whose images powerfully invite meditation and introspection, says, “I shoot what I see.” He “sees” because he takes the time to look, depicting the magnificence of the Earth in both black & white and color. What’s captured through his lens is as much intimate, inner reflection as it is outward perception of the wonder inspired by designs in wood, abstractions of water, the veined pattern of a leaf, or a landscape’s contours and textures.
Donna Forma similarly strives to capture our relationship with the natural order. Paradoxically, the delicacy and intricacy of her materials and compositions convey irrepressible force—like nature herself. Of the hive-like Beginnings, Forma says, “You and I become the insect constructing the cocoon, never knowing if it provides safety or danger.” Forma may also expose pieces to rain, wind, snow, and ice, both “collaborating” and joyfully playing with the elements.
I have spent countless hours climbing mountains, hiking in forests, fishing in rivers, camping by lakes. It takes slowing down and connecting to something far greater than myself to fully appreciate the natural shapes, forms, and abstract patterns all around us.
I want to recreate the extraordinary emotions that arise when I look closely—whether at the veins of a leaf or mosaic design of lichen, or from a distance at the changing patterns of drifting sand in the dunes. I aim to convey the timelessness, sense of wonder, the feeling that these are sacred spaces created by nature.
Photography has become the medium to express my love and deep connection to the breathtaking compositions I find in nature’s abstractions. They ask me to sit quietly and contemplate their mysterious beauty.
I am obsessed with the form, shape, and texture of materials and the emotions and perspective they convey. I endlessly vary materials—wood, handmade paper, animal fur, roots, mica, stone, seaweed, copper, dirt. I cut, form, drill, sew, wire, strap, slash, layer, and weave these together, working in and out, through and around, up and down, establishing a beautiful order until the form emerges.
Some of my pieces are about having as much control as possible, even as I know I can’t bend nature but must instead work with her. Others are about change and movement, evolving as natural forms do in the elements.
I believe our importance as individuals is put into perspective when seen in relation to nature. This is a description of a living blend, or of the flow of change. The recognition and permanence of the flow leads to a sense of peace.