Heron Series No. 1; Butler Institute of American Art

Heron Series No. 1; Butler Institute of American Art

 “At the still point of the turning world … at the still point, there the dance is …”

                                                                                                           T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton

Solo Exhibition

February 27 thru April 10, 2011

The Butler Institute of American Art

524 Wick Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio

Artist Statement

Northeast Ohio, Still

 The “nature” of Northeast Ohio – not only its landscapes and our orientation to them, but its resoluteness – has provided excellent opportunity to explore the important dimension of stillness in photography. The terms, “still” and “stillness,” are problematic: as they evoke experiences of silence and serenity, they may also imply a sense of stasis, a state existing outside the world of movement and change, which is not what I mean to refer to here.  It is, rather, stillness in the context of motion – stillness as continuity, as a point of reference – that I have hoped to communicate in the title and theme of this exhibition.  This is the stillness that centers life, that allows us to order our relationships to a turbulent world.  Each of the images chosen here is intended in some way to elucidate the meaning of a “still point” through the photographic process. Returning continually to the same places each year and each season, I have had the good fortune to experience almost every weather condition and light imaginable in this region, as well as its infinite range of sights, sounds, and smells.  I believe that it is chiefly through this kind of intimacy with the environment that the world is “stilled” as I look through the camera’s viewfinder.  During these moments, moving from one world into another (or perhaps simply deeper into the first), all is suspended – sound, motion, even time.  Paxically, the scenery never ceases to change, as changes remain constant. Northeast Ohio’s landscapes at once reveal time and transcend it, and they still survive. The Butler Institute and the community of Youngstown have long embodied the elements I hope to illustrate through my photography.  Youngstown is still here, and the Butler continues to serve as a “still point,” ordering our worlds and steadying us during the hardship of recent decades. C. Geoffrey Baker