Tad Mike




Photographs by Tad Mike

The word “values”, so often sadly abused, is a valuable commonplace for artists. They know full well the importance of expressive distinctions between dark and light. Whether known in the graphic arts as a scale with myriad tones from white to black, or in the music in the solfeggio, the skilled enunciation of values is essential.

Tad Mike is both a trained musician and a visual artist. He wanders freely amongst the arts, always honing his discrimination. When he functions as a photographer, he seeks the delicate gradations of light one might find in an etching (an art he has also practiced), or in a Debussy prelude. As for his imagery, it is presented with attention to detail, but with a reductive simplicity characteristic of artists who respect ideal purity.

Contemplating Mike’s photography of trees, I have always associated them with the exquisite economies of the haiku masters in China and Japan. Like them, Mike seeks the innate character of what he perceives in nature-whether the dark, erect vertical of a slender tree, or the grand canopy of its crest-and registers it in measured sequences of dark to light. Each photograph pronounces itself with a clarity that speaks of the economy of Zen poets and painters. Mike intuitively understands the necessity of a point of view. He has learned from artists who perceived that man stands on a seemingly horizontal plane, as though rooted, but can encompass vast spaces, such as skies and seas, and can peer upwards, downwards and from side to side. In short, the Platonic thinking eye knows no boundaries. It is the task of the artist to give shape, which is to say, boundaries, to human experience.
This artist has done so. - Dore Ashton

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