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Looking for the Light - Kelli Abdoney - A Photographic Exhibition of the Landscapes of Caithness and

The northern lands of Caithness and Sutherland are the subjects in this body of Photographic work. My interests are deeply embedded in my love and curiosity for these remote unpopulated regions of Scotland. There has been a romantic interpretation associated with imagery concerning the natural environment, though whether these interpretations are false or idealized depends on the opinion of the viewer. They do, however, reflect a spiritual interaction between art and nature.

In my opinion the relationship man has with the natural environment is an amalgamation of survival, an innate motherly love, and an overwhelming sense of infinite time. We have, especially in the western world, become alienated from our once ‘respectful’ attitude towards the land and its productive abilities in providing food and shelter – none of us could fend for ourselves in the way that our hunter-gatherer ancestors did. We have created a reality that is beyond nature, with industrial and technological advancements over-shadowing any former human existence. The few remaining wildernesses are the spiritual and physical embodiment of what we once had at the beginning of time; surely lays the memory of this deep within our own minds.

It is relevant that we have approached a momentous juncture in time. Established traditions and social trends are rapidly disintegrating and, in turn, science and technology are overwhelming us with their genius by revolutionizing lifestyles beyond comprehension. My quest was, and continues to be, to ascertain how these isolated lands are reacting to this transitional period in an environmental, social, political and industrial context.

The natural environment is a controversial issue in the present social climate, and it is apparent that there is an ever-increasing demand for preservation and protection of many decreasing natural ecosystems. It is equally obvious that the reconsideration of the processes whereby we inhabit and utilize land must be carried through into social, political, and industrial reforms. It is the responsibility of everyone – the housewife, the farmer, and the politician – to take seriously the repercussions of their actions. To do so, requires an observance of the light, both physical and metaphorical, that exists within these landscapes to sound a rallying call, first and foremost.

I find the landscapes of Scotland quite extraordinary. There is an overwhelming energy in the rugged battered coastlines and a powerful sense of history and prehistory that saturates the land. The 180-degree horizon, which cradles an abundance of weather from dawn to dusk, the sprawling landscapes that have sustained man and the clarity of its light are only but a few of this country’s physical qualities.

In this body of work, I have chosen to represent the physical impact upon this remote land with issues like agriculture, pollution, the fishing industry, land ownership and social traditions within my photography. I have tried to capture the positives and negatives of the many ways in which we use the land for our own purpose.

You can witness the power of “Looking for the Light” at the Walton Gallery from August 29 through November 8. It is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by appointment.


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