Sketchbook: Vertical Sky

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Whether close to home or on the other side of the world, I love being in wide open spaces where the sky and the horizon take up my whole field of vision.  

I use my camera to capture those places, which have personal significance for me, in the Vertical Sky series. It is an ongoing work involving site-specific installations of photographic images on built frames (wood or metal). Each photo is taken in the same manner with similar proportions. The consistent format and composition of the works emphasize the details, differences, and nuances of each image, while the large-scale format provides a visually immersive experience for the viewer.  

The vertical orientation of the work, with a narrow band of horizon at the bottom and expanse of sky above, provides a different perspective than the typical landscape horizon photography. The thin band of horizon establishes a visual tension, grounding in the land with an expansive view of the sky. The horizon gives a base, a platform for growth, to highlight a world of opportunities above. While the sky is always same, the color palette and details can differ wildly depending on weather, time of day, and season. Painterly use of light and color, enhanced by the matte paper and printing technique, bring a meditative quality to the work and showcase the broad color palette found in nature. 

Each installation of this series is designed to function within the exhibition space, to welcome the viewer to slow down and experience a specific moment in time. Commissioned installations are produced to complement and fit within the intended space. 

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I first installed the series as part of the Work in Progress show at Impact Hub MSP, a loft-like space in the North Loop in Minneapolis. The dual-sided wooden panels were suspended from the ceiling beams, with the base of each aligned just below eye-level for the viewers. One side of the panel featured images from a southern Minnesota farm, while the other consisted of images from the Mediterranean seaside in Italy. Their presence brought meditative calm to a space used for work and small gatherings.  

I also showed Vertical Sky at Twin Rivers Council for the Arts' Starving Artist benefit this fall. There, because of the low light, the suspended installation almost seemed to be floating in mid-air. 

What do the images of Vertical Sky evoke for you? What do they make you think of?