Featuring the Photography of Rob Travis
Curated by Ana Estrada
“I explore nature’s beauty constantly…up a mountain, down to a waterfall and out to my own backyard…from the majestic to the minuscule, all focused on capturing the spirit within. I want to take my viewers out there with me, on their own journey, through my art.”
Rob Travis Brevard, North Carolina
During my summer writing sabbatical at Cedar Mountain, North Carolina, I came upon the work of Rob Travis at the Blue Moon Gallery as I was strolling around downtown Brevard. His photographs reflected such an intimacy with the environment I now found myself in. I contemplated how I was feeling during my extended stay in this charming mountain community. I felt more myself than ever. Time spent in nature, hiking and taking in the waters of natural lakes in Dupont State Forest, feeling the earth beneath my feet, was assisting me in finding an inner balance that felt amazing. All the communications technology and sensationalist news media of our contemporary world seemed so distant. Nature nourished me and respectfully gave me the space to feel what I feel and to think what I think.
Rooted is the result of that contemplation. I was inspired to curate an exhibition of Rob’s work that would express a way of being that is grounded and rooted in the natural environment, giving us the opportunity to explore how this internal state shifts our perception of the world around us. In our times, when so much of what the outer world offers us seems to thrive in discord and emotional turmoil, taking refuge in nature and aligning with inspired action, as opposed to reaction, is indeed revolutionary.
Ana Estrada Delray Beach, Florida
The Visionary Aesthetic
The works selected for the exhibition express what I will refer to as the Visionary Aesthetic. This concept refers to living an ordinary day-to-day life in a state of heightened awareness and emotional balance. The way that the photographs are grouped and interact with each other reflect shamanic philosophies and world views from cultures that are more immersed and integrated in natural environments. The focus on the exterior world that is so prevalent in a more consumerist society is turned inward. Through the Visionary Aesthetic, we begin to coexist in dimensions that are expansive. We feel more nourished and supported in our everyday world.
Entering the Visionary Aesthetic requires a purification process. In traditional indigenous cultures, we may experience this through sacred rituals such as sweat lodge, where the body and mind go through a process of shedding conditioned beliefs and values that limit us. Buddhist traditions offer the silent retreat and mindfulness meditations, all with the intention to observe the mind and transform our conditioned responses.
As our awareness grows through purification, so does our ability to live authentically. It becomes increasingly more natural to stay grounded in our own truth instead of following the crowd as a way to survive. Our perceptions shift from comparison and competition to greater joy and authentic purpose.
Contemplating and identifying with the processes of nature is a timeless way to purify the soul. As our civilization evolves, humans feel a need to “get back to nature” not fully realizing that we are nature. Our separation from nature simply reflects a profound separation from ourselves. By visually exploring the works in this exhibition, the Visionary Aesthetic will reveal new ways of seeing that may or may not dissolve that separation. The choice is truly our own.
Close to the Ground
In Close to the Ground, we see works that are about finding stability, being rooted in the natural environment. We can choose to disconnect from collective thought patterns that are no longer beneficial. We nurture our individual selves and care for our bodies and in this way, find inner strength and clarity. We fluidly move in and out of different perspectives. The mind easily shifts from the microcosm to the macrocosm, from the minute details of a leaf to the majestic landscape of a forest. The amplified color represents heightened states of awareness. We no longer need to tone down or manipulate the senses in order to filter out the overstimulation and mental static we receive in urban environments. We can absorb the silence that soothes and nurtures our physicality. Spiral forms and repetitive patterns are known to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain. In Close to the Ground, we experience nature as a vibration or energy that stabilizes and revives the energy in our human minds and bodies.
In Altered Vision, we see works that portray unusual ways of seeing that open the door to the Visionary Aesthetic. An ephemeral quality is evoked by the appearance of mist or fog in the landscape. We may feel a movement, or a glimpse of a form. We have awareness that the way we individually see the world is unique and not the same for everyone. We allow ourselves to have that sensitivity. Magical or invisible beings seem to glide in and out of our awareness. We’re attracted to places in nature where this energy accumulates creating sacred containers or vortexes of transformation. We may see a tree take on a human form or an angel spring out of a waterfall. Anthropomorphism is a shamanic process where plants and animals can take on human characteristics and begin to communicate with us. In Altered Vision, non-sentient objects like a stone or a river become sentient and offer wisdom and teachings from the natural world that we may not have had access to before.
Rob Travis is an artist and professional photographer living in Brevard, North Carolina. Originally trained as a fused glass artist, he took up photography in 2007. He owns the Blue Moon Art Gallery in downtown Brevard.
Ana Estrada is a curator and the founder of Transformative Destinations in Delray Beach, Florida. She combines her passion for art, archeology and spirituality to create travel programs to sacred places.
We proudly support the Children’s Center of Transylvania County. A portion of our sales will be donated to the 2018 Festival of Trees.