0828: Random Notes

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A beautiful summer afternoon took us out for a drive that eventually led to Gilboa. It had been two years since I had been there. I knew that the Gilboa Museum would be closed (it was a Monday afternoon). But with country as beautiful as it is up through Greene and Schoharie Counties, we knew the ride would be fun no matter what.


I also knew we could check out the fossils laying outside the museum. The opening image is a large tree base, Eospermatopteris, from the famous Gilboa Forest. Picture two, above, which I just posted recently, is part of a smaller base that I had found previously.


These two samples of Devonian plant life got me thinking about how the recent “abstract/concrete” work I did can well relate to these type of fossil images.

IMG_4216_01_LR_12The markings, the linear compositions…they all really fit that previous project. I think I am beginning to see the greater pattern!


Last from our Gilboa stop is this gnarly fossil, a rather incredible fossil – part of the tree – found by Ms Kristen Wychoff. An interesting story accompanies it (click here).



Ms Wychoff’s discovery occurred alongside a nearby creek – “stream mitigation” is what it’s known as – where streams needed to be shored up following Hurricane Irene (which, by the way, occurred exactly three years ago) and large rocks were used as fill. These three images resulted from us making a similar stop on our way back.


More markings – some from heavy equipment…


…and some from the rocks themselves.



Here are a few odds and ends, the first of which comes from my recent sandstone find – a healthy variety of fossils create this vignette.


And here are two more from a quick run to the local quarry – both as visually primordial as they are in fact!




While color has been playing an important role in many of my most recent images, I still have a thing for black and white. This latest version of a favorite fossil was, I am sure, motivated by my fascination with the artist Renee Magritte and his painting “The Castle of the Pyrenees.”



My good friend and fellow photographer, Michael Nelson, dropped by bau Gallery last weekend and left this portrait in his wake. Thanks, Mike!


Two more weekends left before the show comes down. Beacon should be a fine destination over this upcoming Labor Day weekend. Drop by if you can.






0731: Save the Date


The date I’m referring to is Saturday, August 9. I will be presenting a new body of work at the Beacon Artist Union that evening at the opening (6-9pm) and will remain until September 7. This new work, entitled “Abstract/Concrete,” has been a thoughtful exploration and a fine adventure for me. I look forward to sharing it. The image above is one the fourteen that will compose the show.


IMG_3258_01_LR_12Try as I might it just seems impossible for me to keep my shooting area clear and clean. And so the fossils pile up everywhere. While there is a downside (like when you want to show a friend that perfect fossil you found last week!), there is an unexpected and delightful upside. The randomness of all these interesting items generate fresh new images.


And as I browse over the piles I find fossils that I forgot I had.


Left in piles to be dealt with later, I suppose.









Last in this group is a piece I found in the Gilboa area a couple of years ago. It measures twelve inches across. It appears to be the base of a tree trunk showing the roots splaying outward!




I couldn’t resist taking this close-up of a mixed media sculpture. The sculptor is friend and fellow bau member, Tom Holmes. And the sculpture and numerous other terrific pieces remain on display through this weekend (Aug.2-3) in Tom’s solo exhibition at the Beacon Artist Union, 506 Main Street in Beacon, NY. Come by and check out the gallery.

And then you can come back the following weekend for my opening on August 9. I’ll leave you with one more piece from next week’s opening.


Thanks for the visit.

The Gilboa Forest

My good friend, Ms Linda VanAller Hernick from the New York State Museum, and her associates, are in the spotlight and part of the cover story of the March issue of Nature Magazine entitled “The Lost World.” It was their work that has led to the discovery of the floor of the world’s oldest forest. Personally for Linda “This is the culmination of a lifelong interest” as she told Paul Grondahl of the Albany Times-Union. It’s a fascinating story involving a number of scientists working together over a considerable period of time and well worth a read. I can’t do it justice so please go to any of the following links to learn more:

Albany Times-Union –  A land lost to time is big find for museum

And, of course, Nature Magazine, on the newsstands now.
I met Linda while I was working on a project involving the relationship between the Hudson River School painters of the 1800s and the “gentleman geologists” of the day. I had already photographed fossils from the “box of rocks”, as it is known, in the possession of Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historical Site. Along with a series of Catskill landscapes, taken in areas explored by the likes of Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, Frederic Church, etc., I needed to round out the project.
Linda opened up the NYSM fossil collection to me and allowed me to photograph numerous, rare plant fossils. These beautiful, delicate fossil images became, to me, the anchor that pulled my project together. In fact, the picture above of a plant fossil (Archaeopteris) needed a background to set it off. We used one of the Gilboa tree stumps for that purpose!
What follows are images that could only have been made with Linda’s assistance and expertise:
Congratulations once again to all involved. For fossil nerds like me it’s an exciting story.
Since I brought up the Thomas Cole “box of rocks” here are a few images from that endeavor:
One final note – Last week’s post contained a cephalopod image of mine about which a scientific question was asked. My explanation fell short. So, as I often do, I turned to my good friend, Dr. Chuck ver Straeten, for a full explanation and I want to thank him for that.
Thank you for the visit. More images at www.artmurphy.com
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