“Before there were Art Galleries, Art was a Song of the Soul.” Paul Devereux

2. The second artist: Susan Derges.

Susan Derges has pushed the boundaries of modern photography, in her search for a direct experience of natural phenomena, unmediated by the subjective self. She is particularly known for her beautiful images of water, plants earth and sky, produced without a camera. What she does is to set up situations where natural forces can leave their traces on paper, without interference by the photographer.

In this way, her direct observations of the natural world connect with our inner worlds of myth and metaphor.


In the body of work involving the River Taw in Dartmoor, Derges went out at night, using the landscape as a vast darkroom, and immersing photographic paper into the water to make direct prints. The results are inspirational – recording far more than a fleeting moment in a river’s flow.

What she is doing here is revealing the very movement of life itself, the invisible lying beneath visible appearances. This is a theme flowing throughout her work. In an interview with Satish Kumar a few years ago, for Resurgence Magazine, she was asked about her use of sound energy integrated with photographic technique:

“…. I thought it would be fascinating to use sound as a way to create visual images that were really speaking about vibration, about the underlying principles behind the visible, providing a metaphor for the interconnectedness between the vibrational quality of the universe and the underlying principles of the material world.”

( Taken from Resurgence issue 223 – RIVERS AND STARS – Susan Derges, interview by Satish Kumar.)http://www.resurgence.org/resurgence/issues/derges223.htm

Incidentally – going off down a fascinating side-track here – there is an interesting article by Paul Devereux (author of ‘Stone Age Sound Tracks), in the current issue of Resurgence -relating to the origins of contemporary art. See http://www.resurgence.org/2008/devereux246.htm .

About throughstones

I am primarily a visual artist, living on the North Devon coast, a beautiful semi-rural area in South West England. I am interested in full engagement with 'place' and the eternal movement of life - particularly as it relates to what we call 'the natural environment'.
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