I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
- The Black Riders; Stephen Crane
Despite significant evidence to the contrary, I believe that man and nature can get along. horizon manifests my belief through the urban horizon line, a point of reference common to all city dwellers. The horizon line in nature is defined by the organic complexity of trees. mountains or a body of water. Our urban horizon is bounded by the geometric achievement of buildings, rooftops, walls and even passing trucks. My love of both city and country draws me to scenes where the man-made and natural not only co-exist, they actually complement. That relationship is especially apparent where the urban banal becomes extraordinary because of light, weather, chroma, angle or framing, a combination that often reveals itself only through time or through multiple visits to a particular location.
Each horizon image is equally divided between nature and man, a graphical partnership that supports my desire for balance between these two fundamentals. When the series is exhibited, this division creates a fraternal horizon line, bringing the horizon's calming power right into the gallery. Each image is captured on film with a 4x5 view camera because its control over the plane of focus allows me to make foreground and background equally sharp. The resultant flattening of the image abstracts the scene away from documentary and towards the emotive intent of the series. I further flatten the image by printing on non-reflective rag paper because it offers an unmediated interaction with the image that's more typical of an abstract painting.
I've enjoyed deep exposure to both urban and rural my entire life. When I was young I realized that it's possible for man-made achievements to enhance an already beautiful natural scene. As an adult I've realized that these enhancements are all around us and often in the most unexpected places.
We look to any horizon, man-made or natural, for grounding and perspective. City dwellers leave behind much of the natural world, yet we can't leave behind our need for that which the horizon provides.
Sparky Campanella's color photographs of landscapes at night reflect the artist's view of nature as a place of inspiration and healing. night light depicts landscapes with a man-made presence (complementing an already beautiful scene). Whether the man-made presence is found or created, the careful use of light and color evokes feelings of longing and potential against a backdrop of unease. Campanella's practice of shooting by himself under the full moon is important to his process as the vulnerability that comes from being alone outdoors opens him to a deeper connection with the landscape.
Sparky Campanella is a New York based self-taught artist. He has had solo exhibitions at David Weinberg Gallery in Chicago and the Koelsch Gallery in Houston. He has shown his work in group exhibitions nationally including Umbrella Arts, NYC; The Print Center, Philadelphia; Texas Photographic Arts, San Antonio; SF Camerawork, San Francisco; Gallery 825, Los Angeles; and Irvine Fine Arts Center. In 2005 he received a residency at the School of Visual Arts. Campanella has been an instructor at the Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco in 2003 and at Prescott College in Arizona from 2002-2003. Sparky holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a graduate degree from Stanford University. www.campanella.com
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