Finding Wholeness in Art

© 2018 Michael Maurer Smith, Woldumar Nature Center, Lansing, MI

We take heart from form in art because in the last analysis it is a convincing metaphor for wholeness in life. Even when life seems broken.

Robert Adams, Art Can Help

The renown photographer, Henri Cartier Bresson, often spoke of the geometry of the picture, which is another way of saying composition or form. For there to be a convincing metaphor of wholeness, the shapes, lines, tones, contrasts, shadows and color must work in concert to evoke truth and reveal the universal in the specific. The best pictures—those worthy of being called art—point beyond themselves. 

Photographs, in particular, remind us of what once was and is no more—the loved ones now gone forever, the places we knew now irrevocably changed, and the shared experiences with friends and family we can never repeat. Photographs exist in the now but are always about the past and future. They help us locate who, what and where we are in our journey, and where we may be going. 

Art is not utilitarian like a shovel or a frying pan, but it is indispensable to a life of meaning, awakening, joy and beauty, and it helps make us whole.

© 2021 Michael Maurer Smith 

Spring’s Beauty and Hope

T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month.” and indeed this April is cruel. Yet it is also offering renewal and beauty. Here are some examples I photographed this past Sunday (April 19). I hope they will bring you some comfort and reassurance in this time of uncertainty and fear.

Trout Lily © 2020 Michael Maurer Smith

 

False Rue Anemone © 2020 Michael Maurer Smith

Spring Beauty © 2020 Michael Maurer Smith

 

Overhead Costs

Overhead Costs, © 2019 Michael Maurer Smith

We often see people walking, riding, even driving, with their earbuds in and their heads down, staring into the glowing screen embedded in their palm while relying upon their peripheral vision to avoid the obstacles in their path. We see them thumb-tapping messages, checking and sending emails, setting appointments, swiping for dates, and ordering products as they go. But seldom do we see them look to the sky. If they did they might notice the intestines of our electronic age criss crossing and entangled above their heads and perhaps that might give them pause to think about the overhead costs. They might ask themselves why we humans so readily waste and scar the environment and accept the ugly in exchange for comfort, entertainment and convenience; why with all of our technological advances do we still rely upon poles and strung wires as we did in the earliest days of the telegraph? They might wonder, do I spend so much of my life engaged with glowing screens because it is too depressing to look at the reality that surrounds me? 

© 2019 Michael Maurer Smith