John Paul Caponigro
Open Studio | New Work

August 5 & 6, 2017 / 10 AM – 5 PM

Artist’s Talks 2 PM
Watch them live on Facebook.

73 Cross Road, Cushing, ME  04563

Find directions here.

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Come have an adventure in art! Be among the first to see new works by artist John Paul Caponigro’s series Alignment, featuring petroglyphs and stone alignments. Inspired by early childhood and continuing encounters with the sacred arts of “primitive” or “primal” cultures these images make visible the inner spirit of extraordinary places around the world as diverse as Antarctica, Iceland, and Japan. Environmental art in virtual space, these altered images are land art produced without altering the land. The artist’s visionary landscapes drawn from and for the mind’s eye heighten our physical, emotional and spiritual connections to nature. He has said, “The process of creating these images is like dreaming while I’m awake.” Now you’re invited to come dream together with the artist in this unique exhibit.

This is a rare opportunity to see the inner workings of an artist at work in his private studio. Many of the items on display have never been seen before; some are not made public, except during this event.

In addition to the state-of-the art digital photographs, also on display are a wide variety of related studies some drawn, some painted, and some computer rendered.

A second exhibit is also on display featuring the artist’s works made in Maine, his home for over 28 years.

Find out more here.

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Alignment XIV

My free October Desktop Calendar features an image from Death Valley, California.

Download your free copy here.

Find out more about this image here.

Path I, Death Valley, California, 1999

You may have heard the phrase, “You’re responsible for everything that’s included within the frame of your images.” Few stop to consider that this also means, “You’re responsible for everything that’s not included within the frame of your images.” We can eliminate objects in the frame in many ways – moving the frame, moving objects, and retouching are the three most common and progressively make pre-visualization more challenging. All three practices came into play while making this image.

One day, I drove to a remote corner of California’s Death Valley National Park called the Racetrack a location famous for the unusual paths that rocks made on the clay playa’s time-cracked mud. Theories about the cause of this mysterious phenomenon include ice, wind, magnetism, and extraterrestrials. The playa was wet when I arrived and couldn’t be walked on without leaving new tracks. (The park requests that people not make new tracks and only walk on the playa when it is dry.) So, I made exposures without tracks and later made new ones virtually, digitally removing cracks from the image selectively to form the appearance of a path. By removing something old you can create something new. Elimination can be more than a matter of hiding, it can also be about revealing.

The art of composition and storytelling is indeed as much about what is not included as what is included. Making these decisions is more than choosing an angle of view, it’s the beginning of a point of view.

Questions

How many ways and to what end do you typically eliminate things from your images?

How many other practices of elimination can you imagine?

How would practicing other forms of elimination change the nature of your images?

The Story Behind The Story Behind The Image

(Years later, photographer Jay Maisel commented on this image, “That’s a good one. I’ve got one just like it. Only, mine’s more pure. I drove my car out on the mud.” (I assume he did this at another location.) “Mine’s more ‘environmentally friendly.’” I responded, only half in jest, as I consider a majority of my work a form of virtual environmental sculpture. I do this kind of work virtually and ephemerally because I’m working in a culture that doesn’t have a common land use ethic and I don’t want to impose my interpretation of the land on others and future generations, particularly in pristine places, whether public or otherwise.)

Find out more about this image here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

 

Andy Goldsworthy considers his sculptures collaborations with nature.

It’s Goldsworthy’s pieces that don’t persist that impress me most. Why? It’s not because they reverse traditional expectations, that through art an individual and culture achieves extended longevity if not immortality. It’s because Goldsworthy is free to interact with and interpret the landscape without removing this possibility for us. In many ways, his work is an invitation for all of us to participate with land in a similar spirit on our own terms.

I appreciate the irony that a majority of us see most of his work through photographs. In this respect an argument can be made that his primary medium is photography. Even if we have had direct experience with his work, our photographic experience of his work is more persistent. Over time, does the second-hand experience supersede the primary one? He’s managed to use two mediums to complement and comment on each other, while shedding light on our relationships to land and our own identities.

All of these are sentiments I resonate with strongly. What’s more, I might have framed my self-identity more narrowly as a photographer only were it not for the inspiration of artists like Andy Goldsworthy.

Who are your influences and what do they mean to you?

Find out more about my influences here.

Find more artist’s videos here.


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