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Since 1995 I have created photographic tableaux using stone, fire and water that explores the alchemic forces of nature. In particular I'm concerned with the dynamic aspects of the physical world, both regenerative and destructive. Elemental materials such as fire and water portray processes of transformation creating a metaphor of deep geologic time and implying an inherent spiritual and/or ritualistic sensibility.

My photographic explorations are used to create copper plate photogravure etchings and have resulted in several suites of related prints: Putting Out Ashes, Vessels and Vestiges, Pyre, The Promise of Water and Aqua Vitae.

Putting Out Ashes and Vessels and Vestiges I first compose images by placing smooth cobblestones against a backdrop of ashes. Fire is used as a "drawing" tool leaving graffiti-like carbon remains on an ashen background suggesting ancient rituals/ceremonies and life/death cycle.

Fire becomes the central material and metaphor in
Pyre, a series of 12 photogravures. I'm interested in the duality of life that fire represents, simultaneously conveying a sense of life rejuvenating forces and of disintegration. Change is inherent in fire, with the process of degeneration begins the cycle of renewal. Each print is intimate in scale. When grouped together the images create a large presence, thematically building on each other. The suite ends with a single flame hovering in a black field. This las fragment of fire invites the viewer to contemplate whether the fire will perish or persist.

Water has a special place in human consciousness. It is associated with cleansing and renewal and is viewed as a venerated spiritual source, mingling aspects of ritual with day-to-day use. In the
Promise of Water series I pace smooth white stones on or against ambiguous clear surfaces. The stones are separated by a water collecting, melting or washing over each stone. Water bathes the rock, implying an act of weathering, of reducing substances to their fundamental parts. The melting of ice and the cascading, dripping pools of water in Promise of Water III and IV and the powerful relationship of water and fire in Promise of Water V and the Aqua Vitae series allude to aspects of climate change.

A new investigation in digital print media,
Prayer Flag, has offered fresh possibilities of an increased scale. This is my first installation exploring "fire" that is printed on two layers of organza silk to create an illusion of flickering light and movement.


A copper plate photogravure is a 19th century photographic process which is a technical marriage of the tonality achieved in a continuous tone photograph with the velvety, physical surface of an inked etching. To create an image, a copper plate is prepared with a thin gelatin film that has been exposed to UV light. This gelatin carries the image. In the final stages of the process the gelatin/copper sandwich is etched in a series of ferric chloride baths resulting in a low bas-relief textural surface which holds ink when printed. I've worked with the copper plate photogravure process for many years as I feel it best enhances my work. I enjoy the richness and velvety quality of the printing ink and the delicacy of the photographic image. The inherent softness, the image sitting in the paper is esthetically appealing to me.