Pattern + Texture II by Pete McCutchen
Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 6 – 8:30 pm
Photographer Pete McCutchen captures mesmerizing patterns found in rock, ice, and sand, and even mud, transforming natural scenery into abstract alternate realities. Presented in monochrome and printed on metallic paper, McCutchen’s photographs bewitch the eye with their ability to evoke pattern: jagged rocks become houndstooth; sand dunes pose as pinstripes; ice becomes tiger-stripe. McCutchen’s Pattern + Texture II opening Friday March 1 at Touchstone Gallery.
The photographs’ locations are ambiguous and dream-like; so deft is McCutchen’s ability to de-contextualize. Photographs from this series were taken at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, The Great Sand Dunes National Park, the Alaskan wilderness, Death Valley, the Anzo Borrego Desert. Yet they suggest scenes of fantasy, from under-sea landscapes to maps of intergalactic topography.
In images captured at The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Jockey’s Ridge, the subtle tonalities in the sand evoke the soft charcoal strokes of an old master drawing, while the photographs of craggy Alaskan crevices render a glacier’s icy geometry in stark almost violent terms. In Half, McCutchen has captured a dramatic confluence of sands, as one dune’s smooth basin meets the rippled, wind-blown ridges of its neighbor, forming a crescent-shaped division. In contrast to the graceful monochrome spectrum in Half, in Candle, a black streak juts into the sky, cutting through the vivid white ground in like a dark flame. In Remembrance of Things Future, a textured pattern fades to soft obscurity.
McCutchen hopes to pique the imagination of his viewers. “I want them to leave with questions...there’s purposeful ambiguity to the images. My biggest strength is my ability to take the familiar, to isolate and abstract, to create pure composition. This is my most ambitious project yet: to combine that graphic abstract quality with what I like to call ‘traditional photographic virtue’ – light and shadow, precise composition.”
Pete McCutchen has had his work shown in more than 150 juried and curated shows, and his work has been shown in New York, Los Angeles, Athens, Berlin and elsewhere. He has won more than 40 awards in international photography competitions, including the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards, the Prix de la Photographie Paris, the Neutral Density Awards the Monochrome Awards, The Spider Awards, the Monovisions Awards, and the International Photography Awards.