Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time+Space

Lake Superior-Eagle River 2003

I have been magically moved by the images of Hiroshi Sugimoto for more than two decades. We even spent the night together, with him in absentia the night of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. His stand in being the lush 400 page tome of his career to that point. This heavy volume lay nestled on my lap for hours, illuminated only by the flicker of a candles flame, as I and tens of thousands of U.S. east coast residents awaited the return of electricity caused by her fury. The lustrous analog images contain all of his long term exploratory series assembling their consequence over multiple decades; dioramas, movie theaters and seascapes; his most well known and the most revelatory of his nature. Our immediate viewing of seascapes may not provide us with all we seek, but they confront our sensibilities to search within ourselves. What more could be asked of an artist and philosopher? When I gaze at one of his vast, gentle yet powerful seascapes composed of one-half ocean with the top half sky my visceral response is about the passage of time. They appear as a frozen in time living past. Each scene contains no animal life or manufactured objects; only sky and water the primordial components for life as we understand it.

After completing my first year of art school I worked on Cape Cod for the summer. When my schedule permitted I spent days at the beach body-surfing in the the rough ocean waters off Truro MA where Edward Hopper spent much of his career, and while on shore starring towards the horizon and its visually adjacent neighbors sky and ocean. My friends and I, or in solitude loved to do this at all hours. Both were vast, infinite and expressed a timelessness, while constantly changing their appearance based upon the sun, clouds and time of day or night. Some mornings I would rise before dawn and run down the steep dunes to the shoreline and be gifted by witnessing a yellow-orange sphere of light raising itself out of the ocean and above the horizon. Those experiences occurred during an early chapter of my career at the same time Sugimoto was commencing his. I would not become well acquainted with his work for about another fifteen years. When I first viewed his seascape photographs with each image filled only with half sky above and sea below, it transported me back decades to those summer days and nights on the Cape; sitting at waters edge looking out at only ocean and sky, but now with the added visual weight of Sugimoto's imagery of time and space.

Bay of Sagami-Atami 2002

Sea of Japan 1987

No. Pacific-Oregon 1985

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