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MARCUS DEVOE

Generally speaking my photographs are landscapes, waterscapes, close-ups of details within landscapes and human figure studies. However, what really moves me visually to work within these subjects are grace and movement of line, light and shadow, textures and a strong desire to establish a sense of depth and place. The idea of place is not one of recognition as in "oh yes, that's Cayuga Lake" but rather place, as in belonging. As such, my photographs are very personal simply because I make them first and foremost for myself. Many of them represent a kind of portal back to that sense of place and belonging where for a brief instant, Eternity has been transformed into suspended materializations of place and time that exist nowhere else but in the prints themselves.

Of the many dissertations and definitions I have read concerning the nature of the origins and creation of art, one has come to hold great personal relevance and remained a consistent principle that underlies my work. It was written by an American born painter, Robert Henri (1865-1929). I discovered his work and writings while working on my thesis project at Pratt Institute. He wrote, "perhaps whatever there is in my work that may be really interesting to others and surely what is interesting to me, is the result of a sometimes successful effort to free myself from any idea that what I produce must be art or must respond in any way to any standard. (Rather) it must be what it is and must have been made because it was a great pleasure to make it. Whatever (art) is worthwhile, I am sure must be made this way and the influences on its creation are all the experiences, little and big, of a lifetime.” (1.) From this wonderful insight, it seems possible to extrapolate the idea that what comes to be regarded as a "work of art" began simply as, the artist's work. Once all the elements of the creative process are set in motion, the work seems to take on a life of its own. The final product, if truly a "worthwhile" work of art, is much greater than merely the sum of its parts and (hopefully) even holds some mystery and wonder for the artist.

Yet, it is not the artist who decides what of his or her work constitutes art. Instead, I believe it is a process of transformation based upon the impact the work has on the world. Further, art reaches its greatest heights when the work is a celebration of beauty, life and the positive forces that exist in the Universe.

So, is there art? That is a question that can only be answered with time. I can only say that I take complete responsibility for my work and what you see are images I have had great pleasure in making. If one of them leads you to experience some aspect of the beauty in our Universe that you recognize as intrinsically part of yourself, then perhaps there is art…

(1.) Robert Henri The Art Spirit, A Compilation by Margery Ryerson (J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa., 1958), p.124.

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