Shinjosui ~ Mind Like Water
Scott Nichols Gallery is proud to present a collection of photographs by Rolfe Horn, Shinjosui ~ Mind Like Water. The exhibition will be on view from November 5, 2009 through January 2, 2010.
In Rolfe Horn's darkroom hangs a scroll lettered in Japanese calligraphy which roughly translates, may your heart/mind/soul be pure like water. This phrase has become a mantra for Horn, "the saying means so many things.... but what I gather is that we, as human beings have to flow like water, sometimes it is very tough, and other times it is smooth."
This exhibition is the culmination of his fall 2008 trip to Japan and focuses on serene, calm, more meditative landscapes. The photographs all contain an element of water, from the fluid filled rice fields, to the raging waterfalls, to water flowing through the stalks of the bamboo. Horn makes images you can get lost in: quietly spectacular evocations - not just visual records-of their subjects. "There is a certain point in time," he says, "where the harmony of light, atmosphere, and spirit collide, a place in the cosmos where the rhythm of nature unfolds in front of the camera. This can only happen once."
For over 20 years Horn has worked unceasingly in the creation and recreation of his oeuvre. His love affair with photography was sparked at seven years old when he would explore the trails around his home in Northern California. His formal training began in the traditional style of West Coast landscape photography with the instruction of Mark Citret. In 1993 he entered the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California where he studied with Nick Dekker, who introduced him to experimentation with alternative processes. He graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree as the most outstanding graduate of his class.
Although rooted in tradition, Horn has always challenged the norm with his unusual images of the urban landscape and of nighttime scenes. As viewers we sense Horn's fascination with the world- we see redwoods like bodies dancing with outstretched arms, parking meters rising like young saplings in the night air, and curved lines of a highway like wings of a bird across the sky. While working, he says, "I become a child where I am fascinated by the scene until it reveals a unique beauty which can only be expressed visually."
Horn is able to create such scenes of drama- luminous images that seem to glow with their own sources of light- by using complex and advanced printing processes The technique of photography is so deeply ingrained in his being that he feels it is "like a reflex- a reaction to the visual and emotional senses". Through alternative processing founded upon his training in the zone system, he is able to create his images exactly as he imagines them in his mind's eye. He has been called a perfectionist in the darkroom.