This discovery was a true turning point in my work. I continued making landscapes for many years and eventually expanded my idea to make several series of heads and figures, a bird series, and several abstract series. Everything was photographed through the wall of the aquarium filled with water.
Several years ago I started thinking about simplifying the whole idea by just putting paint into water and seeing what happened. At first I didn’t realize it, but the whole process gave almost random results. I could choose the colors to use and the placement of the paint in the water, but the results were always totally surprising. I had created a machine, so to speak, that was giving me random results.
Saul Lewitt said the idea becomes a machine that makes the art. He was speaking about conceptual art. He also said that conceptual artists, “leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.”
There has always been some talk of my work on a conceptual level. Though the landscape photographs generally look like 19th century Hudson River School paintings, the use of very simple materials always gave them a conceptual edge, but I think the new work is even more conceptual, at least in relation to Saul Lewitt’s ideas. The idea has become a machine that makes the art.