Judith K McMillan



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The X-Ray Art of Photographer Judith K McMillan

The work of photographer Judith K. McMillan takes the examination of plants to a new realm. Using an X-ray machine as her camera, McMillan photographs the internal structures of plants, revealing the beauty of natural forms invisible to the human eye. Judith McMillan’s images are ephemeral, eerie, and beautiful. The gladioli, poppies, water lilies, orchids, locust seeds and ferns that become the focus of her work take on a strangely translucent life, opening our minds to an alternate view of reality.

In her current work, McMillan lightly tones the prints she has created from the X-ray negatives. This chemical process produces a mysterious shift between warm and cold tones, creating a wonderful dimensionality in the overlapping layers.

Fascinated by natural cycles, McMillan uses specimens collected throughout the seasons, recording the transformation from bud to blossom and from blossom to seed. The photographs encompass the entire metamorphosis from life to death. Some of the images in this exhibit are 8 X 10 inch contact prints of the original negatives--exact replicas of the plant material. One might expect these photographs to be purely documentary, but something about the translucent glow of a flower, the angle of the stem, or the strange and delightful internal structure of the seed surprises the viewer. For instance, in an image of a pitcher plant one discovers the bodies of insects devoured for dinner. In observing the seedpods of a Hornbeam, the viewer is awed by the feather-like design of the winged fruits that will be released in the spring.

In a wonderful marriage of science and art, an unseen microcosm emerges from within the complexity of botanical forms. The eye falls endlessly through the interlacing textures. What is predictable, common and familiar is transformed into a world of newly discovered pleasures.





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