John Bartosik

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"Rock of Ages"

“Rock of Ages” is a series of photographs depicting the Precambrian Shield with interpretive form. The Shield is the earth’s greatest area of exposed Archaean rock making it the earth’s oldest at 3 billion years. The rock has been scraped clean of ancient mountain ranges by glaciers, and liquefied by forces of extinct volcanoes and tectonic pressures. Agents of time and weathering reveal powerful forces of energy at play. My mirroring of abstract patterns and shapes gives form to those ancient forces as mythological creatures and symbolic representations of the earth’s antiquity and energy.

To a keen pair of eyes and a still mind, this rock’s surface is engraved with the wrinkles and scars of permanence that are a result of energetic forces from within the earth. If we are mindful to see and listen to its legends of time, the rock speaks to us.

The Canadian Shield has an abstruse nature; its shape has the appearance of a warrior’s shield which evokes supernatural and mythical imagery of an era lost in the earth’s origins. After a geophysical ‘drift’ from a single landmass and billions of years later, man, civilizations, culture and myths of creation appeared.

In this series of concepts, I have attempted to create form with my perceptions of the rock while characterizing the antiquity of our earth. I start by utilizing existing elements of light and shadow, line, texture, patterns and shapes to capture an original abstract image. Through the use of Photoshop, I simply mirror the abstract image to give it form with reflective symmetry. Only standard optimizations of digital photography are applied to these images with no other manipulation.

Mythological creatures, ancient structures, symbolic animals and primeval human forms with some earthy recognition immediately emerge from these images. The viewer may feel a familiarity with these conceptualizations--as if they trigger our childhood imaginations or are understood as a result of our inherent connection with creation.

The symmetry created by mirroring the original abstracts seems to connect with our subconscious need for order in the chaos of nature. The process introduces us to a realm of mindfulness where the analytical mind becomes hampered and the playful imagination awakens. These images certainly provide us with a glimpse of our earth’s antiquity while we are invited to reflect on its--and on our--future. The earth is permanent and will always exist, long after its current inhabitants have long disappeared.

To recognize that this earth is a living, breathing entity of energy that is billions of years old and that all species are dependant on it for our survival is a reminder to contribute respectfully and react with responsibility. We play a significant role as caretakers even though we are only temporary guests.

∗ The “Rock of Ages” photographs are available as a limited edition of 10, in both black and white and color, printed as giclée on canvas.
Size: 20x30 inches Price: $550.00 ea.