WALTER W NELSON: Donald Judd | Simplicity of Form / by Tasha Ostrander

Simplicity of Form A3 2008, archival digital print, 16"x24"

Simplicity of Form A3 2008, archival digital print, 16"x24"

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In 2008, Walter W Nelson travelled to Marfa, Texas to experience the work of Donald Judd at the Chianti Foundation. Nelson photographed Judd's work and in the shadows and waning light of sunset, through a series of photo collages, Nelson captured Judd's works in form, space, light and shadow - extracting a concentrated distillation  - minimal from minimal yielding essence from essence.

In his own words, Nelson writes:

I have been visiting Marfa on and off for the past 4 years and never once walked out in the field where Donald Judd’s concrete sculptures lie.

On my last trip I decided to do so and at the last moment also decided to carry my camera.

Upon experiencing the large concrete forms up close and looking at the light and shadow creating the same depth dimension as within his Aluminum boxes, I decided to take a photograph.  The placement of concrete forms adjunct to each other with the play of light and form blew me away.  I decided to visit each grouping and to photograph the lines with shadow and light. 

On returning to Wichita Falls, and reading a poem in the recent Desert Candle (Joshing With Judd by Michael McGuire) something happened.  I set down with my computer and over the next 4 days came up with 12 images.

I feel I have created a body of work in Homage to Donald Judd.  Something different with pure simplicity of form, conveying possible inner thoughts of his mind, I know in mine.

- Walter W. Nelson 


JOSHING WITH JUDD
a Poem by Michael McGuire

 

It seems Judd's journal world early on note
the joinery of these vast open spaces

with the anonymously minted masses of hardedge surfaces

  the grand geological gestures amid the emptiness
one impassively emanating elemental power
the unspontaneously whispering the infinite

 it would note how through repeated regimes of reduction
through eons of elimination and savage simplification
comes an unaesthetic purification

how the scenery so stripped down and starkly visible
sleekens the sense of simple seeing
and mirrors his move towards minimalism

how it births an objective expansiveness
grips the flat ground of the imagination
enlarging him unlyrically and impersonally from within


Simplicity of Form A10 2008, archival digital print, 16"x24"

Simplicity of Form A10 2008, archival digital print, 16"x24"

Simplicity of Form A9  2008, archival digital print, 16"x24"

Simplicity of Form A9  2008, archival digital print, 16"x24"