Giving Form to Meditation
By Tom Wachunas
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1 -
EXHIBITION: Thin Places, photographs by Michele Waalkes, at Market Street Art Spot, 219 N. Market Street, Minerva, Ohio, THROUGH FEBRUARY 2. Viewing hours are Thursday – Saturday, 1:00 – 6:00 and by appointment. www.marketstreetartspot.com
Michele Waalkes’ sense of place transcends immediate sensory data. Which is to say that her photographs of “thin places” are really more akin to ethereal zones. Herein the obvious visual evidence of locations in Assisi, Italy, has been re-processed to suggest ghostly essences or ephemeral presences, transferred to a variety of surfaces including wood, canvas and reflective metal.
Certainly her method of overlapping exposures of two scenes/locales may be simple enough. Yet from that simplicity of approach, she has generated richly textured, lovely juxtapositions of separate physical realities that seemingly merge to create a third, metaphysical reality. The pictorial whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
These harmonizings of man-made entities (such as religious artifacts, churches or other classically-styled architectural works) with natural landscape elements are on one level symbols of a heightened sentience, or metaphorical meditations on the unity of things cognitive and intuitive, corporeal and spiritual, secular and holy.
The two pieces printed on metal in this collection – Salvation and Today and Tomorrow – shimmer with an opalescence that brings an uncanny sensation of movement to the imagery. And in that sense, all of the images here, imbued with gentle, diffuse light, suggest a kind of animation - a temporal shifting, not too unlike a cinematic encounter of separate scenes simultaneously fading in and out of view. In Waalkes’ elegant pictures, the scenes hover in a frozen moment of serene equilibrium.
In all, these are visual devotions and meditations, seen through the lens of quiet awe and reverence.
Photo: Entrance, digital photo on canvas, by Michele Waalkes