Art that invites contemplation.
Untitled is a ongoing master series of black-and-white photographs of living plant elements found in nature.
The fine line between black-and-white photography and modern sculpture is blurred in the work of Anna Agoston, who produces images of plant forms within space that border on abstraction while representing facets of existence. Thus, the individual photographs in the ongoing master series of 358 convey a sense of existence in the world, while groupings of several photographs of the series substantiate mental, physical and cultural experiences that make up existence.
Agoston’s individual photographs are characterized by tightly framed portrait images of precisely positioned forms; they are often anthropomorphic. In addition, while the forms are strategically illuminated and revealed with a wide range of tones, they offer viewers specific areas of sharpness on which their attention may be focused. Controlling all aspects of the image helps communicate intimate messages, which the artist leaves open to interpretation.
The work furthers modern vocabularies and narratives by way of an innovative artistic process that depends on a contemporary device exclusive to digital cameras – the liquid-crystal display (LCD) screen. This device allows the artist to “direct carve” * with light forms from their environment and to make sharp, accurately exposed macro photographs of plant forms in nature – parks and the wilderness. The progressive process (a photograph may take up to 200 exposure) enables the artist to gradually become fully aware of the form and the feeling it evokes in her.
With this body of work, Agoston elevates free, humble, ephemeral and readily available natural elements of the environment, such as buds, twigs, stems, leaves etc. to the status of art, so that we will look at them, appropriate them and possibly even be reminded of their intrinsic value – aesthetic, nutritional, medicinal and environmental. Each plant is a gem – food for certain species, medicine for others, and a powerful producer of oxygen and absorber of carbon dioxide for all. As such, plants help fight global warming and reduce the devastating effects of climate change on our environment.
*The term “direct carving” refers to a process that was used by Constantin Brancusi, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. According to the Tate Website, it is “an approach to making carved sculpture where the actual process of carving suggests the final form rather than a carefully worked out preliminary model.”