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Photographic artist featured at ChocMo | Kitsap Week

By RICHARD D. OXLEY
North Kitsap Herald Reporter
November 1, 2013 · Updated 4:40 PM
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“Yellow Symphony” is one piece of photographic artwork by John Wood that will be featured at ChocMo over the next two months. / Courtesy of John Wood

POULSBO — Poulsbo’s chocolate bistro has become known for its treats and sweets, but ChocMo has also carved out a niche of featuring local artists.

John Wood is one such artist.

The Bainbridge Island-based man will adorn the walls of ChocMo with his artwork through November and December. His work has become renowned for taking ordinary scenes of life and presenting them in an elegant manner, showcasing deep colors and intriguing shapes.

Audiences are left decoding an array of stimuli, searching for what the original image could have been or simply appreciating the work as is.

Wood’s ChocMo exhibition will open on Nov. 4, and an artist’s reception is scheduled for Nov. 14 at 6 p.m.

Wood has become known for a few notable, local projects.

One 2012 series of photographs, “Woman Unadorned,” featured 34 pictures of women’s faces without makeup, rather, as they naturally are.

The artist was flooded with volunteers for the project, many of whom wanted to set a positive example for young women.

But Wood has become more known for his work involving heavy photographic editing.

Starting with an image taken from ordinary life, perhaps a scene that many would not consider artistically significant, Wood digitally morphs the photograph into something unique.

What starts as a piece of warped metal, an aging lifeboat, or even rain drops on a Prius, can become something entirely different, translated through Wood’s artistic lens.

Onlookers take time to decipher what the image originally was, or just take it in as it is.

“I take great pleasure in discovering beauty in the ‘ordinary world,’ a curtain, an old desk, a piece of abandoned metal, a lamp shade,” Wood said. “A phrase I read many years ago in an article about a coffee shop in Vienna stays with me: ‘This little place dignifies the ordinary.’

“These photographs were not taken in a distant, exotic desert or a remote mountain range but close to home,” he added. “They are views of things we see every day.”

Photographs are transformed, ranging from medleys of gritty grays to stunning blues and reds. Sometimes, Wood will include a bird that he captured on film. Each piece is different and takes on a unique presentation.

For Wood, it is a matter of pulling out of an image a sensation or feel that is not inherently associated with it.

“There is a moment when we experience something and the world stops,” he said.

“We see a red leaf, hear a phrase of music, smell a glass of wine, taste a small piece of cheese or feel the texture of a sweater and we are absorbed by the present and into a state of appreciation and gratitude.

“My challenge, which I believe is the challenge of most artists, is how to convey to another human being the appreciation, and often the rapture, of what I have seen or heard,” he said.

Whether considering  an abstract image of contrasting colors, or a psychedelic take on a crow, Wood hopes to share a moment with his audience.

“All of us have had the experience of seeing something in our mind’s eye and wanting to express it to someone else,” he said.

“In that transition between my own experience and yours, in what I present to you, lies the opportunity for frustration and sometimes despair, as well as satisfaction and sometimes joy.”

He added, “If I am able to move you by showing you beauty in a common, everyday object, I will be very pleased.”

More information about ChocMo can be found at www.chocmo.com. Wood’s work and other endeavors can be found at www.lovingpower.com.

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