|Shadows over Valley|
|Shadows on Road|
I have always had an uncommon fascination for the play of light and darkness. I see it from the high atop the mountain where I live just as dramatically as on the road I take to my house. I have experienced something akin to rapture after staring at the shadows for prolonged periods. I wondered if I might be having some kind of a seizure; I felt immobilized by the oscillating patterns of light. This is true not only in western Massachusetts. On Martha’s Vineyard, the roads are so narrow, that the trees, overreaching in their lacy umbrage, create a tunnel through which cars, bicyclists and pedestrians pass. When sunlight penetrates that tunnel -- whether the leaves are in tact in summer or the branches are winter-bare, there is a riveting pattern of light and dark shadows that keeps my eyes glued to the road. I have studied the mesmerizing effect with close attention. I did the same when my elementary school teacher would use a projector to share overhead slides with the class. The empty screen was awash in light. We would make shadow-puppets in the beam of light whenever the teacher turned away from the screen. Much later, I remember an art lesson I took. The teacher explained we can draw positive or negative space. She challenged us to draw the negative space. “Try drawing the lines of what is not there rather than recreating what is there,” she said. This flipflop of realities made sense to me. The world could be a place where light is the norm, and darkness manages to penetrate...or darkness is the standard and somehow, light penetrates it. Another possibility is that we could simply imagine the world in shades of grey. One hundred shades of grey? Color is a layer we add on top of the base of black and white and grey. Color is an entirely different category.
I continue to look for patterns in the shadows. When they emerge, I feel a small thrill. A hand more powerful than all others seems to be playing with the projector.