philip van keuren: murmations


March 24th - May 14th

For in the immediate world, everything is to be discerned, for him who can discern it, and centrally and simply, without either dissection into science or digression into art, but with the whole of consciousness, seeking to perceive it as it stands: so that the aspect of a street in sunlight can roar in the heart of itself as a symphony, perhaps as no symphony can: and all of consciousness is shifted from the imagined, the revisive, to the effort to perceive simply the cruel radiance of what is.  

- James Agee

Although each photographic work (regardless of medium) stands on its own the entire body of images dating from 1991 (these and ones still to be made) are considered one work of art, much as Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, first published as a pamphlet containing twelve poems, grew to encompass hundreds of poems under the same title. 

The earliest of these images in the series were made in New York City, mostly in winter. Many of the images are made in gardens, museums, and parks. While New York and its surrounding area continues to be of primary interest, over the years a number of works have been made in Amersterdam, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Paris. Both urban and rural locations continue to provide a plethora of new visual images containing poetic and symbolic meanings from both the built and natural world. Poet Robert Hass has said of art images: “They marry the world, but do not claim to possess it, and in this they have the power and the limitations of intimate knowledge.” For me these gravures “marry the world” by making apparent the visual and mnemonic complexity inherent in the things and places observed with a sense of gravitas, addressing issues of memory, mortality, time, distance, and luminosity, and the fleeting nature of existence. Hopefully they create an emblematic world of studied simplicity punctuated by silence, containing the noetic suggestiveness of “things” that may appear oddly familiar to the observer yet remain ineluctably strange, perhaps even beautiful."

- Philip Van Keuren