The piece Rocks and Roots provides an interesting composition with varied layers of meaning.
At first glance you see the round pebbles and rocks of a river or stream bed displaced by the roots of a nearby tree. However, this is a Zen garden and nothing is as it seems.
Zen gardens are places of meditation, solitude, nature and the blending of architecture with nature. Naturally, every piece and structure, both natural and manufactured in a Zen garden has a purpose. Usually it tells a story, or reminds you of a lesson or saying. It works the same way that stained glass works in a church. However, it is possible to also look at the elements in a Zen garden through the eyes of art.
Artistically, this picture is not only old rocks and new roots, it’s also about the lines. If you notice, there are almost no straight lines in this piece. Most are of a natural form, a curve, or a smooth rounded edge. Even the straight lines you do find on some of the roots are not completely straight but still follow a natural fragmented look.
After the study of natural lines Rocks and Roots reveals the value of the contrasts . Discover the contrasts of texture and color between the various rocks resulting in earth tones of grey and reds but compared with the dark foreboding wood of the root.
Once our eyes are comfortable with these contrasts of line and color we discover the straight lined structure in the far upper left corner compared with the rest of the work. It is now that we have a total blend of components that serves the piece completely.
The shocking result is a work rich in a compelling study of lines, contrast and color. The different colored rocks, the earth tones and the dark ragged hues of the wood present the miracle of nature but by leaving that straight piece of wood in the corner, we have instantly invented a theme resulting in Man vs. nature theme to the overall composition. The artificial structure and the natural world is separate, yet part of the compelling experience.
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