Visual art review: Ted Coldwell, Colours from the Earth

An alchemical approach to nature photography.

click to enlarge TED COLDWELL
Ted Coldwell

Ted Coldwell, Colours from the Earth

To June 3
ViewPoint Gallery, 1272 Barrington Street

This is perhaps the easiest time of year to appreciate nature’s beauty. After spring draws itself out for as long as possible, we finally see our neighbourhoods settle into their summer skins, noting every day and relishing the smallest changes to the landscape.

In Colours from the Earth, on until June 3 at ViewPointGallery, photographer Ted Coldwell asks us to consider the beauty we might have overlooked by composing shots of rock faces that expose the striking colours that can be found there. Ranging from deep royal blue, to chartreuse and persimmon, Coldwell finds nature’s own abstract paintings. Competing, clashing colours (purple and yellow, blue and orange) find harmony under his lens. 

Striking a balance, he then topples it by altering the image into a kaleidoscope-like image called a prismatic. The fissures and shards of Coldwell’s rock-scapes become lost this new configuration, transforming them into a colourful cathedral ceiling or psychedelic stained glass.

In addition to this visual manipulation, Coldwell is also interested in a more physical transformation of his images. He composes photo sculptures where the rock face becomes three-dimensional. Sometimes this is a direct translation—the scene layered to suggest natural depth, like a shoebox diorama—and other times Coldwell abandons the natural order, creating geometric canvases that rise and fall at his whim. 

In this moment, we are reminded that the artist is both student and master of nature, curious and careful in its depictions while retaining full artistic license to change what they see fit. 

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