Summit Right Brain: Photographer Carl Scofield debuts new abstract exhibit
IF YOU GO
What: Opening artist reception for Carl Scofield
When: Friday, July 8; 5–6 p.m.
Where: Breckenridge Theatre; 121 S. Ridge St., Breckenridge
Even if you haven’t heard the name Carl Scofield, you’ve probably at least seen his work. More than 30 years worth of stunning images of the town, its people and the mountain have been used around Summit County in both promotional materials and featured in art exhibits and shops.
While he has become known over the last few decades for his landscape photographs, his current interests are a deviation from this platform and more of a venture into the abstract. The photographer, fascinated with the study entropy, or the gradual state of decline, has been taking images he felt represent the beauty and artistic value of entropy for years and is now ready to debut a compilation of these photos.
His two-part exhibit, “Off the Wall” and “Closer to Home,” will be featured at the Breckenridge Theatre for a month, from July 8 to Aug. 8. There will be an opening reception on Friday, July 8 at the new Ridge Street theater from 5–6 p.m.
“Off the Wall” is a series of photographs of old walls Scofield finds intriguing in his study of abstract compositions and design that are works of entropy. He said small towns fascinate him, and the images for this piece are taken from areas in Eastern Colorado.
“I’m really enjoying exploring that great unforgotten part of this wonderful state,” he said.
“Closer to Home” is a series of black and whites that also speak to the passage of time. Ancient trees and images of open spaces he collected in South Park and San Luis Valley are represented in the second piece to the exhibit.
“Fine arts is an area where I would like to steer my career into, so this is kind of my first chance to stick my foot in the water if you will; so I’m really anxious to see what sort of reaction I get from people,” he said. “I know that a lot of the imagery I’m putting up there might not be what people want to hang above their couch, but I really wanted to put something up that’s very different, perhaps a little challenging and certainly different than what we see in photography around here. It’s not your beautiful landscapes.”
Summit Daily News: What inspired you in your work for “Off the Wall” and “Closer to Home”?
Carl Scofield: I’ve been trying to spend time in between assignments rediscovering my vision and what it is I like to photograph. I’m a real artist, I’ve got a real artist eye and a real artist soul, and I’ve always tried to bring an artistic vision to all of my assignment work; and, on the side, I like to try to pursue more of my artistic vision. This show is a chance to put up some stuff I think is very different than what people have seen of mine. It’s very different then what people have seen around here. … “Off the Wall” is, first of all, very design and composition oriented. And that’s what always attracts me to anything in photography — that’s where it all starts, with good design and composition. Secondly, the whole show is about the passage of time. “Off the Wall” is a study in entropy. I’m fascinated with the poetic beauty of decline, of natural decline and nature. Entropy is a natural state of decline in the universe, and it can really create some beautiful, artistic imagery. The state of decay can be really beautiful, the state of decline. The first part … is very graphic, very abstract, a lot of the imagery looks like abstract paintings, which is something I’m fascinated with. … When you first see them, they might not look like a wall, you might not be able to tell what they are. … There’s a greater story once you get beyond the impacts of the graphics and the design of what happened here. What lives were present here? What was this wall when people really did care for it?
The interesting thing about entropy, the one way that you can reverse the effects of entropy is through conscious effort. If you continue to paint your house, you continue to keep it up. In your life, if you pay attention to your life you can reverse the effects of entropy. These walls have missed any conscious effort in a long time. They are in a state of decline, and they create a beautiful, graphic design that tells a story.
The other part of the show … is also about passage of time. … There’s some ancient trees, ancient bristle cones, ancient junipers. There’s sort of a dichotomy of there’s entropy, but there’s also a rebirth, because there’s a consciousness, they are alive, they are alive in nature. And there is a conscious effort to keep things changing and updated. So they’re different than the wall but they do reflect a passage of time. … There is a balance between the two, of the decay with a lack of effort, and life in the real world with the ongoing cycle of life and birth, and life and birth.
SDN: How did you get into this type of abstract work?
CS: It’s always been something I’ve dabbled in. … I know the market in this community and what most buys are looking for. They like pictures of the area and pictures of the town, and I’ve got a lot of that. That’s what I’m known for, people see that, people see my pictures of Breckenridge and Summit County, and this is a chance to put up something really quite different and hopefully a bit engaging, and more of an expression of how I see things. To me there are more stories beyond what’s just on the wall. You have to wonder who lived there, what are these lines, what was this thing here.
SDN: So this exhibit is more of an expression of your feelings in this moment?
CS: I’m fascinated with the passage of time. I’m fascinated with walking around in our current time and everything we take for granted and tend to think this is how it’s always going to be. To me, these images sort of remind us that things are always in change, and what we look at now might look like these walls very soon. Some of the places we live now could be fascinating ghost towns in the future. … I find it very healthy and unencumbering to remember the impermanence of things, and to remember we are just here for this brief instant and to celebrate this brief instant and to be a gentle reminder.
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