Extended Trot – A Photographer’s Perspective

Extended Trot Horse Horseriding

“Extended Trot” is an original light sculpture conceived by artist Dean Alan Kent and executed in his studio Kent Glass Works. The medium is an 8x8x4 inch glass block sitting in a black painted wooden stand that houses white LED lights. The LED lights provide internal illumination independent of the ambient light level in the room where the sculpture is displayed. This illumination is turned on and off by a switch in the power cord.

The design is drawn and hand cut into a silhouette style template which is overlaid onto the glass block. The block is placed in a blasting cabinet where the artist etches the design into the block itself using blasting media.

The artist requested that I generate digital imagery for employment in a multimedia platform. During the course of processing the digital computer files I became intrigued with the subtle use of light and dark employed to define the details in the etched image. The artist refers to this style of art as black and white sculpture.

My eye was attracted to the similarity between this form of art and black and white photography. The success of the execution is predicated upon the effective juxtaposition of the tonality and contrast inherent in both images and this form of sculpture. A color painting presents the viewer with the visual information necessary to understand what the original artist was trying to convey via the medium of oil and canvas with a casual glance.

This sculpture, on the other hand, invites those who gaze upon it to develop a more than cursory and transitory relationship to the viewing experience. The basic outlines of the conceptualization are provided and the viewer subconsciously fills in the unspoken details. One is encouraged to draw upon their own visual life experiences in adding to the image and evolving an understanding of how the image appears in its totality. Essentially the viewer becomes a partner with the artist in the development of a finish image. The sculpture embodies the basic visual tenet that less is in fact more.

One would be forgiven for thinking at first glance that the image is just a representation of a rider astride a horse. Further reflection upon the overt and covert details inherent in the image display details that flesh out the conceptualization of what the artist was trying to convey to the viewer.

The macro view of the formal attire of the rider and the extended forward gait of the horse suggest a scene from an upper level dressage competition. The utilization of subtle spoken and unspoken details adds to that conclusion.

The bridle nose band and head band are mere suggestions of white on a clear background. The reins attached to the bridle and held in hand are again a discrete representation. The pointed mane is illustrative of the common practice of its being braided prior to competition.

The rider’s foot, stirrup, leg and saddle are denoted by a combination of light and dark areas combined in the etching. The saddle pad is represented by the light area. The above screen shot demonstrates the effective use of black and white to provide a starting point for the viewer to add from their own experiences in visualization of the completed image.

Due to the lack of a universally accepted description of this sort of art work I think that one would not be terribly remiss for thinking of the finished result as an example of, for lack of better phraseology, minimalist post modernism. The intent is to convey the finished image as originally conceived using the least amount of physical representation while relying upon the viewer to become a partner with the artist in essentially “finishing the image” by adding their own interpretation to what they are seeing before them.

This particular implementation and execution of the artist’s vision strikes me as a 3 dimensional rendition of the 2 dimensional images seen in black and white images. It relies upon the basic formula of black and white just as computers are predicated upon ones and zeros. I think that when viewed in this format less truly is more. The individual who takes the time to glaze upon the sculpture with a modicum of interest is rewarded by the resultant partnership formed with the artist and achieves a clearer understanding of what his original intentions were.

– Kevin McCartney