Recent Photos

David Earle exhibits as part of the Guelph Arts Festival
Temple Studios October, 2002
Vaughn Barclay


I found sanctuary atop the stairs leading to Temple Studios on Quebec St., as I explored during the Guelph studio Arts Tour in late October.  Here were images which, upon seeing, I knew my soul craved.

David Earle, the Canadian dancer and choreographer, offers a disclaimer in the introduction to his exhibit: "I am not a photographer" - He does not need to be. He has fashioned images that disclose, simply, an essential truth and beauty that far transcend their medium. And though they are mainly of the natural world, they bear no relation to 'natural photography'.  If anything, these images are filmic.  Their depth of vision recalls the images of Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky and his 'revolutionary traditionalism'.  They seem to me, literally, an extension of the natural- unspoiled- eye, conferring the open, soft gaze of adoration upon the natural world and the world of architecture, bearing witness to their perfect inner symmetry.  We see modern and ancient architectural forms and fragments as unmistakably wedded to, birthed from, the forms of nature. (As if to say, however could they be considered separately?)  Line, colour and texture echo lovingly between the two worlds.

This is a gaze that penetrates, seeing through and beyond these forms, to the internal and eternal source with which they dance in mutual reflection.  And so are we led there - returned home - to memory and its imprints, to the after-image, the interface between psyche, spirit and nature: a timeless landscape for dreaming and deep contemplation.  These are doors, windows and natural corridors that mirror the soul's eye, calling us through life's endless passages of birth, loss, and revelation!  These are panes of colour that weep with pure intensity, (blues that one could die for!).  These are stones that see us, with their naked beingness and terrifying clarity.  Then - mise en scene - sheets hanging, luminous white, come upon amidst dark trees and again, swaying against dark, ancient brick - elemental beings of pure presence.

The photos are a natural, uncontrived, evocation of the sacred.  Presented in small, vertical format, in identical rectangular glass frames, like arches or stain-glass windows, they effect an exquisite rhythm and unity of vision, resting beautifully in this temple of a studio, which Dancetheatre David Earle has both preserved and renovated so gorgeously.  It was interesting to discover from David that he had scanned and cropped the images in his computer.  I was moved to know how, under the seeing eye and hand, the machines around us might serve beauty as well as separate us from it.

These images that speak directly to our dis-used senses of wonder and reverence, inviting awe and beyond that, a deep self-remembering.  As such, they offer healing of the brutal rupture between our essence and the culture whose sole purpose, seems, at times, to be to separate us from it.  David Earle asks himself, perhaps whimsically, "how can I be so moved by stones"?  I ask seriously - how can we not?