The abstract photos on view at the CMC ArtShare Gallery in Glenwood Springs through Jan. 25 invite visitors to slow down and take an up-close look at the colors, shapes and textures of the objects that surround them.
"The world is so full of hidden beauty; I think it's important to pay attention," said Gayle Waterman, the digital art photographer who created the exhibit. "Truly, my purpose in doing this art is to encourage people to look deeply, whether at other people, or at the stars. There's always more around us than we can initially, physically see."
Waterman is no stranger to photographic arts. Her parents were amateur shutterbugs, and her husband was a professional photographer early in his career. After his death four years ago, Waterman picked up her own camera in earnest, with the idea of capturing the essence of the antiques she and her husband had collected together for their home and business.
Several photographer friends helped her learn the basics she needed to start exploring the old furnishings she loved from a new perspective. Waterman's curiosity ignited a passion, and she soon realized that a macro lens could help her focus on a specific detail out of context and "give it new meaning," she said.
Waterman had always been a fan of artists like Wassily Kandinsky and Georgia O'Keeffe, so abstract photography was an immediate fit.
"I like abstract expressionism and modernism, because it's not literal," she explained. "It asks the observer to come up with their own interpretation."
One of Waterman's goals is to preserve the appreciation of antiques, by placing them in a new light that fits with modern interior design. She explains that when she focuses on a texture, shadow or color, something new emerges.
"Even people who say they don't like antiques may like a piece in a new presentation," she said.
"Personally, I love the discovery process of what I'm doing - discovering things I didn't originally see. I look for depth, shape and form. Sometimes the lens discovers things that I can't see with my eye - all kinds of shapes and splatters. It's a surprise every time."
The photographs on display at the Glenwood Springs gallery are among Waterman's favorites.
"For the most part, I'm sharing some of my bolder pieces," she said. "I like bright, bold, strong colors. I like contrast. I like images that are shocking, even possibly disturbing."
The great thing about expressive, abstract art, according to Waterman, is that it's a collaborative process with the viewer. "I really want people to see their own vision in it," she said, "not just what I see."