By Saturday, May 12, 2012grafphoto
hydraulic fracturing fracking symbolism art

"Fracked" Image # RO-9576

Often when working with my rock abstracts, I will rotate, zoom in and zoom out of these intricate patterns looking for something to make a connection to something other than the literal subject I am photographing.   After all, I see this series as not just looking closely at rocks, but how they have a great similarity to images taken from satellites.   That to me implies a great connection in the processes of nature – big and small.

Symbolic titles for abstracts also have me with a bit of mixed feeling.  In some ways, I would like people to see what they want to see in them, without any guidance from me.   On the other hand, I often see very specific things or themes in these patterns, and think part of the art is in conveying that.   I am leaning more towards the latter lately, and if someone sees something differently, then so be it.

This latest piece I have titled “Fracked.”   I see a horizon, and a giant drilling well going into the Earth.   Then below the surface, we have layer upon layer of geological formation, shifts, fault lines, water sources, connections and cracks throughout.   Depending on your views, you may see things becoming a bit of a mess below the surface.  Of course red is a very powerful color, and creates one of the main graphical elements here.   Red can be symbolic of so many things… death, blood, anger, evil, love, power, prestige, crime, or danger – depending on your cultural background.   I think it is poignant how many of those words can be associated with our quest for energy sources.

Of course, the bit of sci-fi geek in me sees the double entendre in this title.   If you don’t have a clue what I am referring to, then may I suggest a couple seasons of the modernized Battlestar Galactica series?   Bottom line, we better know what the frack we are doing.


Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • Mark, this is fabulous!
    The colors, patterns and overall luminosity is powerful yet subtle enough to let my own imagination flow. Loved reading this post.

    Best Wishes
    Seung Kye

  • Greg Russell says:

    This is really cool, Mark. Like the other commenters I like that you’ve led us through your thought process here, and now that you’ve defined much of the image for us, your title seems apt. It is a really lovely image. I like rock abstracts a lot, and this is certainly one of the best I’ve seen…

  • scuba_suzy says:

    teehee I just couldnt take any of these comments about “fracking” seriously after your BG reference! lol. Great image Mark and I love that you explained what you saw in it. Very thoughtful (and funny) post 🙂


  • I did not see that until you mentioned it but it is very obvious. More than that it is natures way of “fracking.” I will not stand on my soap box about my view of fracking. I must admit this image is a wonderful design and work of art. Well done, Mark!

  • Earl says:

    Mark, I think it’s a very logical connection to the process of “Fracking.” I won’t even go into how dangerous I think “Fracking” is and how I believe we’ll be dealing with polluted ground water for decades to come. Call me old fashion but water shouldn’t be flammable.

    Still this is a lovely image with a lot of strong detail and “passion” about it. Just remember it’s not about the energy…it’s about the $money$ to be made from selling the energy — so the symboligy is very appropriate.

  • Amazing piece of rock, Mark 🙂 I love the bold red here and even though I like this composition I must admit that I like the diagonal one “Neural Network” a bit more.

  • pj says:

    Great photo. I love abstracts like this.

    My little brain wouldn’t have made the connection to fracking, but once you made the connection I can’t help but see, well… red.

    This is a great example of where a combination of strong image and title can work together to send a powerful message. Superb piece of work Mark.

    • Mark says:

      Thanks PJ. What you mention about not making the connection is what I struggle with. Because I know once I plant a certain description or image in someone’s head – that’s all they see. Often when you see an abstract painting in a gallery, there isn’t a description of what the artist was thinking about, leaving open to the viewer to contemplate the possibilities.

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