Untitled, from the series Photographs from 'The Tao of Physics'
Gelatin silver print
Arthur Tress is best known for his series of staged still-life tableaux. However, this photograph offers a rare glimpse of his investigations into pure abstraction. It is from his series Photographs from 'The Tao of Physics.'
Inspired by his visualization of physical phenomena, Tress arranged found objects on textured backgrounds, such as cement, plastic, snow, and sand. He spray-painted these constructions to create layered patterns and then photographed the results. Tress strived to “find rich symbolic meaning in pattern, not just merely the decorative, and its correlation to science and the search for the fabric of the universe” in these skillfully executed interpretations. He drew source material for his abstractions from a range of art movements and cultures including Russian Constructivism, Tibetan prayer woodcuts and stenciling techniques of the late nineteenth-century architect, Louis Sullivan.
Tress’s photographs are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2001, the Corcoran Gallery of Art featured a retrospective of his work entitled Arthur Tress: Fantastic Voyage: Photographs 1956-2000.
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