Cumulous by Jenee Mateer

Cumulous by Jenee Mateer


2018 archival pigment print on ultra smooth fine art paper, archivally mounted & framed

25 x 25 inches. edition of 5, 1/5




I discovered the term “break boundary” when reading Marshall McLuhan’s influential book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964). Coined by Kenneth E. Boulding (1910–1993), who was a co-founder of the General Systems Theory, the term refers to the transformative point at which a system suddenly and irrevocably changes from its original state into something new. I often think about water, land, and sky in relation to this term and about how photography is evolving as an art form and medium for self-expression. Given that technology allows us to manipulate the photographic image in drastic ways, at what point is a photograph no longer a photograph? Technology allows us to change our environment as well. At what point will we have shifted the ecological balance of our waters, lands, soils, and atmosphere so much that we irrevocably effect significant change in climate and weather? How will such change affect our collective DNA and notions of the expanding universe? Thoughts about these things inform the photographs that are presented in this book. The book encompasses two photographic series (Parts I and II), in which I wanted to see how far I could push my photographs of water, land, and sky and still maintain a sense of the natural landscape. Together, the two series, each introduced by a poem, are meant to engender curiosity about the world and insight into one’s relationship to it. In thinking about a title for this book, I realized that the term “break boundary” applies to both series. It also alludes to breaking waves and the horizon that divides land, water, and sky as well as the point of transformation where photographs of real places become imaginary. As an artist, I have long been interested in color and light, in creating images that reveal the relationship between environment (and place) and the understanding of self. In this collection of photographs, I explore my various connections to water, land, and sky. Like many others, I am drawn to water and never tire of looking at it—whether an ocean, river, or lake—and all of the photographs in this book come from one of those water-based settings. In such places, the play and movement of sunlight and clouds create endless variations of color and form and invite quiet yet profound contemplation about what we see before us.

– Jenee Mateer


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