Large-scale Photographs of Texas Flora with a Japanese Flavor

Pittmanleaf_030410_3_4501Japanese aesthetics permeate Roy Pitmann’s photographs of nature, the outcome of his childhood experiences in Japan where he lived with his family.  In Japan, the concept of beauty is integral to daily life.  Although the impermanence of beauty and daily life are sometimes lamented in Japanese arts, they are more often celebrated for their evanescence.  Joy and beauty, found in the present moment, are commemorated through tradition, such as in the elegant tea ceremony, in which even the smallest detail has meaning, and through the arts—in writing, painting, metalworking, gardening . . .

In a similar fashion, Pittman celebrates the transient disposition of nature in his depictions of native Texas flora.  In these photographs, the artist, eschewing the flower in full bloom or the leaf at pitch perfection, follows the dictum of 14th-century Buddhist essayist Kenkô: “Branches about to blossom or gardens strewn with faded flowers are worthier of our admiration.”  In his photographs, Pittman isolates on a soft white ground the single fading leaf or the lone wilting flower.  These large-scale images, set slightly off center, present a universal truth:  All life is fleeting.

Roy Pittman says of the subject matter of this body of work: “I have worked many years to be mindful of the beauty that surrounds me.  The fallen oak leaves I picked up in Travis Park last December are as dramatic and as beautiful as the infinite vistas at Palo Duro Canyon.  Magnified, the tiny wildflowers I collected in Olmos Basin Park this spring display surprising complexity of structure and a visual elegance.  One does not have to look too far to marvel at the beauty of nature.”

Pittmanleaf_033110_19_rotated_4501An exhibit of Roy Pittman’s photographs, titled “Between the Leaves,” opens at Bihl Haus Arts with a public reception on Friday, September 17, from 5:30-8:30 pm, 2803 Fredericksburg Rd. (inside the gates of Primrose at Monticello Park Senior Apartments).  The exhibit runs through Saturday, October 16.  The gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays, 1-4 pm, and by appointment (210-383-9723).

Roy Pittman studied photography in the early 70s at Prescott College and at the California Institute.  Working under Jay Dusard and Frederick Sommer, he learned exacting methods of printing that make full use of the potentials of silver prints. During this time the artist had solo shows at Prescott, Arizona, and at Laguna Gloria Museum in Austin, and participated in juried shows at Friends of Photography in California, at the University of Arizona, and at New York State University. Pittman continued making photographs in the ensuing years, while supporting his family as a surveyor, teacher, and registered nurse.  Roy has now returned to his art full time using new methods of photography, new ideas for composition, and a new understanding of the importance of beauty in our lives.

This is an official Fotoseptiembre 2010 evnt.