Symmetry Series: nude studies and new work at #NAF19

I’ve been making symmetrical images for many years now. Usually of trees, grass, leaves, ferns and clouds – you can see plenty in my Symmetry in Nature book download. Recently I have been making them much more complex by dissolving nude female figures into the composition. Here’s a good example from this years’s #NAF19. It’s called The Three Graces and is a large piece (76 cms x 67 cms). The blog format doesn’t really do it justice but you can see what I mean.

The Three Graces Vaulted #NAF19: Symmetry Study

The Three Graces Vaulted at #NAF19: Symmetry Study

The backdrop is a picture of the ancient milkweed tree at Platbos Forest in the western Cape near Cape Agulhas. I have mirrored it horizontally and vertically to get a vaulted effect. I wanted you to feel the branches stretch overhead as if under the roof of a cathedral.

Platbos Milkwood Dark: Original Study before mirroring

Platbos Milkwood Dark: before mirroring

Then, of course, I needed to have a figure, or figures, to merge into this ethereal background. I wanted a nude female figure that dissolves into the roots, branches and vines. So I set up a photo shoot (with Natalie who I have worked with before) and she posed in front of a screen with a variety of images projected on to her. I used my own mirrored images of ferns, spider webs and – best of all – lightning for this.

Lightning of Grahamstown - Symmetry Template

Lightning over Grahamstown – Symmetry Template

Here’s a short selection from the shoot. You’ll see that Natalie gave me some beautiful shapes to work with. They’re tricky pictures to take as it’s dark with only the projected image for lighting – so shutter speeds were quite slow and ISO settings high.

My favourite images had the lightning and trees draped over her body. I then spent many hours reducing images carefully down to partial figures. These could then be overlaid on to the forest so they looked as though they were dissolving into, or emerging organically out of, a mystical scene. In the end I had three images of her that I used and that’s why the finished artwork is called The Three Graces. It’s so striking that I have two versions of it. I’ve used it for my poster and publicity.

You can see the final two image at my exhibition Reflections in the Johan Carinus Art Centre, Beaufort Street, Grahamstown. We are open from 9 am to 5 pm daily throughout the 2019 National Arts Festival from 27 June to 7 July. If you are interested in purchasing (or having a private viewing) then please contact me at roddyfox@mac.com.

Fractal Dryad

One of the most frustrating things about curating right through the Arts Festival is that I get a lot of inspiration but there’s no time to act on it until quite a bit later.  This year was no exception.  Many people have commented that a lot of my pictures resemble fractals – and I agree with them because they do – but I’ve never set out to make a fractal picture before.  I’ve chosen the pattern that’s found in trees, flowers, seeds and a whole host of other natural phenomena – a Fibonacci spiral of ever smaller images in a theoretically endless sequence. The key thing is that each image in the spiral is the exact replica of the same image at regularly diminishing or increasing scales.

Fractal Dryad

Producing an aesthetically pleasing picture that more or less follows these ideas has been difficult.  The problem is chosing an image that shows the spiralling nature in a dynamic way.  The sequence I’ve made starts at the large image to the bottom of the picture and then rotates up to the top left, across to the top right and on down in a clockwise direction until it spirals out of sight.  The base picture is from my Dryad series: where a mirrored image of a skeletal tree is projected on to Natalie’s back as she stands in front of a screen.

Here’s a screenshot from Wikipedia showing the mathematics that the spiral sequence is based on.

Fibonacci Spiral

I added further copies of the whole picture into the cut-outs of her head so that she appears to be looking out of her own shadowed outline.

Now I’ve finished working this out of my system it will be time for some more photography.  I’m off to Sweden in a couple of weeks time where I’m sure to find some more inspiration from nature.

 

 

 

 

Summer Webs: Symmetry Exhibition, National Arts Festival 2017

One of the things I wanted in the exhibition was a small set of pictures that show off my love of harmony and beauty.  The dryad series covers a whole wall and they’re quite dark.  So I set about shooting some much lighter pictures with clean lines that can be simply mirrored.  I’ve combined them into one mosaic image here but in the exhibition they are four separate pictures.

Webs Mosaic

Three of these pictures are of spiders webs. The water droplets from the early morning mist pick out the graceful shapes of the webs in the cosmos and aloes.  I think the lines give nice tension and balance: the backgrounds are very pale because of the mist.  I took the pictures one late summer morning at Tsitsa Falls backpackers.  The fourth picture is of hornbeam trees in the beautiful forest below Tureborg in Uddevalla, Sweden.  In this picture the curved shapes of the tree trunks are balanced by the branches and the shape of the valley sides.  It complements the other three pictures nicely even though the subject is different.

Fantasy trees

A couple of weeks ago I posted this picture on Facebook.  It’s one of my favourite trees catching the warm sunshine: full of twisty arching shapes. At the time my good friend Harry Owen said he could see an artwork coming on …. he was right.

Äsperöd Gnarly

Äsperöd Gnarly

I’ve managed to find some time to work with it and I’m pretty happy with these two images. They’re full of mirroring and overlay and to me they’re fantasy works.  This first one overlays an image of the forest floor to give a warm rich texture.

Äsperöd Mushroom Fantasy

Äsperöd Mushroom Fantasy

The second one rotates the trees and the cross processing of the overlaid images gives some amazing blue and red tints.  There’s a completely different feel to it.

Äsperöd Fantasy

Äsperöd Fantasy

This is still a work in progress and hopefully I’ll be putting up more pictures as my ideas develop.

Portals Exhibition – the catalogue

The cost of framed and print only copies are given below.  All images are available in digital format at R250/image.

Trees (costs do not include postage and packaging)

Äsperöd Gnarly (900 x 754) R2200 framed (sold); R1350 print

Äsperöd Gnarly

Äsperöd Gnarly

Äsperöd Gnarly Creature (900 x 800) R2300 framed; R1350 print

Äsperöd Gnarly Creature

Äsperöd Gnarly Creature

Aurajoki Runic (643 x 900) R1900 framed (sold); R1150 print

Aurajoki Runic

Aurajoki Runic

Baobab Temple (900 x 378) R1550 framed; R1150 print

Baobab Temple

Baobab Temple

Vresbok Archway (1000 x 759) R2300 framed; R1350 print

Vresbok Archway

Vresbok Archway

Vresbok Avenue (900 x 753) R2200 framed; R1350 print

Vresbok Avenue

Vresbok Avenue

Designs (costs do not include postage and packaging)

Alice in Wonderland (1000 x 1182) R3000 framed; R1550 print

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Blue Arabesque (900 x 933) R2450 framed; R1400 print

Blue Arabesque

Blue Arabesque

Blue Portal (900 x 1166) R2800 framed; R1500 print

Blue Portal

Blue Portal

Endless Filigree (1100 x 1200) R2650 framed; R1600 print

Endless Filigree

Endless Filigree

Endless Natalie (850 x 875) R2300 framed; R1350 print

Endless Natalie

Endless Natalie

Vresbok Spiders (1050 x 1200) R3250 framed; R1600 print

Vresbok Spiders

Vresbok Spiders

Eyes (costs do not include postage and packaging)

Ancient Eyes (900 x 428) R1700 framed; R1200 print

Ancient Eyes

Ancient Eyes

Natalie Feral (950 x 698) R2150 framed; R1300 print

Natalie Feral

Natalie Feral

Natalie Metallica (1200 x 800) R2450 framed; R1300 print

Natalie Metallica

Natalie Metallica

Skies, Fjords (costs do not include postage and packaging)

Aloe Skyscape (800 x 680) R2000 framed (sold); R1250 print

Aloe Skyscape

Aloe Skyscape

Lindesnäs Fjordscape (900 x 404) R1650 framed (sold); R1200 print

Lindesnäs Fjordscape

Lindesnäs Fjordscape

Okapuka Sunset (1000 x 997) R2750 framed; R1550 print

Okapuka Sunset

Okapuka Sunset

Stendörren Dreamscape (1350 x 529) R2200 x R1350

Stendörren Dreamscape

Stendörren Dreamscape

Contact me if you want to place an order.

 

 

 

 

Almost there …. National Arts Festival 2016

The pictures are framed, the labeling’s done, digital images uploaded for distribution, picture hooks, string and the rest of the exhibition paraphernalia are all just about ready to go.  So I’m almost there!


I’ll be hanging the pictures on Tuesday 28th, with Harry Owen’s assistance, and the finishing touches should be done on Wednesday.  Thursday 30th we open at the Carinus Annex. See you there!