2017 – LandEscape Contemporary Art Review, Anniversary Edition generously includes 16 pages of text and photos about Lee’s abstract photography. The article consists of an interview he gave to curators Katherine Williams and Josh Ryder. Their engaging questions focused on his approach to art and on what reactions he hopes his work generates from viewers. Each edition of LandEscape Art Review garners an average of over 300,000 readers. You can view the edition at: https://joom.ag/8gdW/p46.
Julia Dolan, Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum invited Lee to include Tickled Fancy #44 (see below) in the 40th National Photography Exhibition, Larson Gallery, Yakima Valley College, Yakima, WA. “I’m very appreciative of her interest in my work,” said Musgrave. This photo was also in the Luck of the Draw exhibit during March and April at the Foundry Art Centre, St. Charles, MO. Further, my CC Rider Series was selected as a Finalists in the 2nd Charles Dodgson Black & White Award plus CCR #7 received an Honorable Mention.
It is with great interest that I await the inaugural issue of Blended, a new collective art zine, for it will include an article about my most recent abstract photography series. Blended will be published on line and in print as well as shared on social media. It will be available soon.
Happily, in September, my abstract photography will be exhibited in Barcelona, Spain at the Pollux Awards Exhibition. Joyous Misbehavin’ #10 (see Series below) is one of the images that will be in the exhibition.
Here is a link to the article: http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2016/02/27/article/159892356/lee-musgrave-light-ring-caress/
From April 9 through September 30, the international invitational exhibition Novus Conceptum was at the Hannah Bacol Busch Gallery in Houston/Bellaire, Texas and featured 13 of Lee’s most recent light pad abstract photographs.
One of Lee’s rare semi-abstract landscape photos was featured in the On the Road exhibit at the SE Center for Photography, Greenville, SC… and one of his newest abstracts is in the special fall exhibit Abstracted at the Mpls Photo Center, Minneapolis from September 16 through November 13.
Two of Musgrave’s newest abstracts (see below) were shortlisted for the Royal Photographic Society’s International Print Exhibition in London. “It was an honor to have been a finalist for this exhibition,” stated Lee.
He also had a solo exhibition at the pop-up Adelante Gallery, NYC. The exhibit included several photos from his Curlicue Flourish Series (which received the 5th Place Award from the 2015 Fine Art Photography Awards) as well as photos from his Savvy Proclivities Series (which are featured in The Photo Review magazine’s 2015 Competition issue and was awarded 2nd Place in the Abstract, 7th Edition Pollux Awards). His CC Rider Series received an Honorable Mention Award from the Abstract Fine Art, Neutral Density Photography Awards 2015. The NYC solo exhibit can be seen on youtube.com/watch?v=Lfts-kuAzUQ.
LensCulture Editors Invitation features 24 abstract photographs from some of Lee Musgrave’s most recent series. Based in Paris, LensCulture sponsors international photography awards, grants, and traveling exhibitions and is recognized as a definitive resource for the latest movements in contemporary photography. Visit “lensculture.com” and type in Lee Musgrave to view the photographs. “It’s an honor to have been selected by the editors and to have my work featured on the LensCulture website,” stated the artist.
2014 – Lee’s abstract nature photography was exhibited in Fleeting Moments, a solo exhibition at the Metro Gallery, Reno, NV and he was selected from an international list of 105 artists as one of six finalists for the Abstract, 6th Edition Pollux Awards, 2014 Worldwide Photography Gala Awards.
Overview – The reality presented in Lee’s photographs is of “found short-term occurrences” that appear on the land just outside his studio and on a light pad within his studio… and yet, both are evocative of abstract expressionistic painting. “I am attracted to dynamic images that occurs in fleeting moments… a kind of precarious imagery that is at once lifting and exhilarating… and gone or transformed quickly,” stated Lee. “Whether I’m outside immersed in nature or inside my studio staring at art supply scraps the approach is one of serendipitous sightings.”
These “taking advantage of chance” images are un-staged and recorded in-camera preserving thought provoking representation of suspended moments in time. The “found” nature images are gestures in patience as Lee waited for fluctuations in climate and seasons to produce them; they are shot with natural light and with all their components (rocks, plant debris, soil, mud, snow/ice) left undisturbed.
The “chance” light pad images consist of finding elegance within chaos. “For me, the winsome character of a randomly created image enthralls and divulges an openness and honesty that is cheering,” stated Lee.
Chance created abstract images have the ability to engage viewers emotively and intellectually for they often include optical illusions and ethereal aspects that present spatial mirages or resemble celestial visions. The incorporation of translucent materials makes the preceived structures in Lee’s photographs appear to consist of networks that have multi-directional spaces that liberate the viewer to journey through them… and the distortions of angles and forms become avenues of emphasis and drama.
Kinetics is a key element in the light pad process for the objects seen in each photograph were tossed onto the pad allowing them to fall where they may… and the pad was often moved about without any concern for how the motion rearranged the objects. In fact, Lee occasionally deliberately shacks the pad which makes the initial source of each image the unconscious. The cropping of the photographs is Lee’s conscious way of accentuating the dynamics of that randomness and the charisma of each individual image.
“Fate is my collaborator when I encounter the unforeseen ways chance has arranged the objects on the pad,” stated Lee. “Striking combinations of colors and textures; conspicuous shadows; a remarkable edge to an exquisite form; or a bravura of tension… I find all of these flukes to be alluring.”
Further, Musgrave has a special fondness for the objects on the pad because they are the repurposed surplus from his painting and drawing activities. That is to say, the shavings from his colored pencils; crumbs from worn color sticks; bits and pieces of dried paint from the ferrule of his brushes; along with trimmings of assorted art papers and fragments of plastic containers. This limitation means that only certain outcomes of randomness will occur… and that the resulting photographs are connected to all of his studio ventures. “An unsentimental, yet deeply heartening feeling,” mused Lee.
Like the inherent qualities found in contemporary abstract art the images from both of Lee’s approaches to photography may appear starkly linear, richly textured and / or almost painterly… and yet, they highlight an ephemeral world that reflects upon something vulnerable and essential while speaking to the very nature of existence, and radiate a glamour that belies their chronicle of relentless change.
“My objective is to place the viewer in the moment with each image, to suspend them between imagination and reality thereby suggesting the unseen: those elemental phenomena we live by like vim, verve and oomph,” Lee stated.
Musgrave began making abstract photographs many years ago with an Olypmus OM-1 camera. “My interest was rekindled with the advent of digital cameras and the freedom they provide. Today I use a Canon and a Nikon.”
What bestows an unmistakable character to Lee’s photos is the transformation that occurs when he crops each image. “I favor a visual language that explores and refines the shallow picture plane,” stated Lee. By exploring the visual aesthetics within chance Lee conveys the spontaneity associated with contemporary art—and though his subject matter is often unrecognizable its identification is not primary to understanding or appreciating the work. “I focus on the nuances and I strive to present them as new images which stand independent of their origins.”
By selecting and isolating settings from their context, Lee pulls images from reality into vernacular abstraction. In this way, his photographs explore the relationship between impartial objects and personal perception, focusing on the subtleties that produce multiple layers of experience.
“Though my photography is considered abstract it is actually completely realistic. I use realism as a medium—just as I use paint and brushes when working on canvas—as a means to record my personal non-verbal response to what I see before me and how immersion in it makes me feel whole,” stated Musgrave. Finding abstraction within realism is even more important to Lee as a stance for it reflects his belief that contemplation is in itself an important philosophical act. “I am primarily a romantic who through selective cropping of realistic images reveals my personal inner world of mystical experiences.”
Lee’s selection and cropping of specific images that seem to reference mankind’s angst is also very apparent. “Every photographic image I capture comes from something very specific in the real world—a place and a moment of time—thus I try not to question why it fascinates me,” he stated. “Everything has a kernel of reality that’s very specific which I strive to stay true to.”
When Lee finds a new subject he is compelled to know it fully, thus he photographs it extensively—which has resulted in dozens of individual Series… shown here are just a few. Each Series has a minimum of 10 unique images and some have 50 or more. Plus he limits each image size to an edition of 10 signed and numbered prints.
“Most contemporary photography is occupied with recurrent narrative, political and gender-based themes… and probably always will be. When it turns inward to express beauty and visual aesthetic pleasure it usually drifts toward surrealism and fantasy, but still well within the representational genre,” stated Lee. “At the root of those creative processes is the sixth sense of instinctive intellectual drive. It flashes before our eyes, holds us and pulls us in and says “don’t miss this”. That trice is what abstract photography is all about. It goes directly toward ones inner thoughts, makes us pause and takes us beyond provocation and coincidence to a visual epistle that transcends our fundamental understanding of life.”
For more information or to view more “found” nature or “chance” pad images simply send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional photographs can be seen on the Exhibit Proposal page listed above.
Except for minor modifications in contrast or hue the only computer editing processes applied to Lee’s photographs is the occasional cloning over of small spots of dust, lent, or reflective light. To view a slideshow of all of the photographs on this page just click on any photo… it will enlarge and the slideshow will begin.
Light Pad Series: Tickled Fancy
Light pad series: CC Rider
Light pad series: Light Ring Caress
“As far back as I can remember, the aesthetics of visual composition and the behavior of light have garnered my profound and enduring attention. Whether created by nature or man, their ability to affect my since of self and place is still paramount to my understanding of life. My Light Ring Caress images venture into that transformative realm.
How this series came about began with my need to make more space in my small studio trash bin… it is my habit to crush or cut up waste materials before discarding them… and often I throw some of that material onto a light pad just to see what serendipitous surprises I may discover. If what I see holds my attention I photograph it. By chance the objects on the pad on this day came out of the pockets of my favorite jacket. As a result, they were from several places in the world.
For example, the paper doily is from Adelaide and the rubber bands were given to me by a child in Perth, Australia; the large dark blue shape with light blue swirling dots is part of a shopping bag given to me in Freiburg, Germany and the large black rubber ring, I found on the street there; the blue-green wave like shape was part of a frozen yogurt cup and spoon I used in Colmar, France; the green dot and oval ring were part of a deli bag from a market in Hood River, Oregon; and the pieces of colored tissue paper are from London. I’m not sure where I acquired the other objects.
When I saw them all together on the light pad their disparate shapes complemented one another while the light passing through and around them united them in an engaging way. I photographed them then shook the pad to see if the effect still held with a new arrangement. It did, so I photographed them again and repeated that process several times… ending with a series of over 40 images.” One of the images from this series is being featured in the Berlin Foto Biennale at the Palazzo Italia in Berlin, Germany during October.
Light pad series: Evocative Rave
Light pad series: Joyous Misbehavin’
This Series was selected as a finalist in the Fine Art, 9th Pollux Awards, Worldwide Photography Gala Awards and will be included in their exhibit in London during September 2017. It was also featured in the inaugural issue of Create Magazine and in the anniversary edition of LandEscape Art Review.
Light pad series: Savvy Proclivities
This Series was featured in Lee’s recent solo exhibit in New York.
Light pad series: Curlicue Flourish
This Series was featured in Lee’s recent solo exhibit in New York and received the Honorable Mention 5th Place Award, 2015 Fine Art Photography Awards, Abstract.
Nature Series: Bygum
Most of the images in this series were photographed in Adelaide and Perth, Australia.
Nature Series: Fiddle Diddle With Red Bean
Nature Series: Radiant Embrace
Nature Series: Autumn Angst
This series was selected as a Finalists in the 6th Edition of the Pollux Awards.
Nature series: Delectable Yum
Nature series: Thought Linger
Nature series: Aus Tree Line
These images where captured in Adelaide and Perth, Australia.