Sunday, 2 March 2008

True wonderment of Nature

Flowing clouds, Alberta, September 2007

I made some comments to this post at the Landscapist that I want to elaborate on.

The piece was about the notion of our losing the sense of wonder in the world around us as culture becomes more rational/scientific and whether art has a part to play in shaping our culture.

It is an oft heard argument that the loss of the spiritual in society, as we turn more to science, decreases our sense of connection to and wonder in Nature. I disagree. For me, turning to spiritual or metaphysical arguments for explanations is merely scratching the surface. Seeking for answers to "why" without cause to the "how" seems to me so superficial.

As an engineer who deals in scientific explanations every day, it is the search for "how" that makes the natural world so much more wonderful: rich deep and complex. Seeing crude human attempts to mimic or recreate Nature shows how clumsy and awkward we are in comparison. We are neither so powerful nor so subtle. It is through the appreciation of the layers of "how" that leads me to feel the wonderment of Nature.

Art-making then becomes so much more difficult. I see all of this complex yet subtle interaction and process going on around me which is impossible to truly capture on a flat print. This is what I strive for when I say I'm looking "to demonstrate the ways in which nature shows beauty." It is not just the form, but the process that brings it into being.

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