Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
Art and Visual Culture
Integrated Visual Arts
Since photography was invented, it was used to record the beauty of life. I made an abstract photography project using flowers as my subject to borrow colors and shapes from nature. I use cut flowers since they are separated from the whole plant and only survive a few days. I use long exposure as a transformative process to create abstract photography, and freeze the fleeting beauty.
I was inspired by Hiroshi Sugimoto and Wynn Bullock. Sugimoto’s Seascapes inspired me to incorporate basic elements of nature while Lightning Fields encouraged me to explore my process. Bullock’s works of using broken glass to create different scenes enlightened me to produce works that transform the subject matter.
‘To see a world in a flower, and a bodhi in a leaf” is one of the most important Buddhist philosophies. It explains how a world of information may be discovered through a simple object, like a flower. A flower contains a wide range of information from the earth to the sun it grew with. By moving my camera while shooting, I attached my feelings at different moments into the photos and expressed myself with the flowers. As viewers wander through my arrangement of hanging fabric prints, they react to the overall presentation with their own personal experiences and feelings. It’s an unusual way to appreciate flowers, and another new world of feelings could be triggered through the walking process. The gallery installation features large silk hanging fabric, and it allows viewers to wander through and lose themselves in it.
The series includes the blooming flowers as a way to explore ephemerality and eternity. When I look at the images I forget who I am. I experience movement, color, and form. There’s another world that can be found within one flower. The viewers are connecting to the macro world as they lose themselves a little bit.
Chen, Xiaohan, "A world in a flower" (2017). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15280.