Louise Dudis: An Absorbent Eye
Opening reception: April 15, 2016, 6-9pm
An Absorbent Eye, 2016
©2016 Robert Henry Contemporary
Through the lens of 21st Century digital technology Louise Dudis explores the emotional and spiritual influence of landscape. Influenced by American Transcendentalism, Dudis questions our impact and relationship to the land and explores ideas about beauty, spirituality, philosophy and the act of seeing.
Responding to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s metaphor of the transparent eyeball, a representation of an eye that is absorbent rather than reflective and therefore observes all that nature has to offer, Dudis documents the majesty, tenacity and beautyof Sycamore trees on the streets of New York City.Emerson’s eyeball, devoid of its body and ‘egotism’ merges with what it sees in disembodied harmony with nature. It is only in this state Emerson contends that we can perceive a deep unity between the human spirit and the natural world.
For the photographer this transparent eye acts as a metaphor for the artist’s ability to recognize the essential nature of objects and reflects the characteristics of the natural world in much the same was as a camera lens. Walker Evans believed this eyeball “is not a free-floating entity, but a necessary link between the observer and the landscape surrounding him or her.”With their surroundings, limbs and leaves cropped out of view the trunks of Dudis’s majestic Sycamores turn this notion on its end. The trees are abstracted from time and their noisy, gritty environments and the rich, luscious colors and textures offer a different perspective on our ubiquitous neighbors. Dissected from their surroundings the minute textural details and multitudes of colors of Sycamore bark nonetheless are made all the more apparent and thus revealing the beauty of their essential nature.
Sometimes battered, broken and urinated on street trees are most often ignored in the busy, hurried trajectories of daily lives in the city. Louise Dudis invites us to pause and to visually experience and appreciate nature. The 30 images in An Absorbent Eye explore the act of seeing by exposing in almost microscopic detail the unnoticed beauty that is right before our eyes.