The Earth offers her beauty in grandiose as well as diminutive scale. These photographs are moments of observing what goes unobserved; of honoring the smaller part of the whole and in its grandeur, that small part becomes a world unto itself. The images are essentially unaltered by digital processes. They capture what my heart and mind encountered in those moments—that sense of awe while walking along creeks, rivers, oceans, forests and mountains. The intention is to remove notions of time, view with clarity, and transcend the materiality of the image to honor the harmony of Nature's grace, beauty and power.
My enchantment with nature began as a child when I spent my summers in the Catskill Mountains of New York. My family stayed in a "bungalow colony" and we children had the freedom to wander in the forest and along the creek that ran behind it. We could explore for hours. Years later, backpacking through the Sierra Nevadas and the Rocky Mountains, I would meander along other creeks, often taking a dip in small pools and icy waterfalls. In my twenties, I studied the ancient Chinese text, The I Ching, or Book of Changes. One afternoon, while sitting next to a running brook and being lulled into a quiet mind, I read the text's hexagram, Water. This hexagram became my personal symbol and life lesson.
“...It flows on and on, and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot nor from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose its own essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions…”
As I watched a lone droplet fall from the top of a gentle waterfall and quickly blend into the rushing waters, I perceived my world in a profoundly new way. I imagined the singular droplet as representing my individuality, and simultaneously, grasped my oneness with the whole of the universe.
Anita Getzler lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Raised in Brooklyn, she was influenced by her many encounters with great art in the museums of New York City. As a teenager, her family moved to Los Angeles where she started high school. After earning her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and MA from California State University, Los Angeles, Anita pursued careers as a museum educator, a high school art instructor, all the while working as a fine art photographer and raising her two sons.
It was while directing education programs in contemporary public galleries in Los Angeles and Las Vegas that Anita broadened her vision and sharpened her photographic eye. She later designed and directed the Education Program for the Guggenheim/Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas.
She has participated in numerous group art exhibitions, including several solo photography shows. Anita's imagery continues to evolve into new approaches to abstraction and metaphor, as well as expanding into digital fabric printing.
Gregory Crosby, Art Critic/Poet
It quickly becomes obvious to any viewer that Anita Getzler's work is, in large part, about reflections. But it is work that transcends mere reflection, the simple quality of the world rendered upon a mirrored surface. In her photographs of water, whether they are of shallow rippled pools or the darkened surface of a lake or sea, Getzler approaches something beyond the play of light on liquid. In her vision, the water becomes akin to flesh; the sensuousness of her images reach a plateau of abstraction that is rooted in the material world, yet free from its immediate association. Like touching someone's skin in the dark, they are in that twilight between what our eyes tell us and what we truly experience.
These images, derived from many places at many times in the natural world, are not primarily about that world. Getzler draws her inspiration and imagery from nature, but she is not merely looking for the patterns in the chaos. Her work is a search for the moments when the patterns in the chaos become something other than themselves. These are not the crisp evocations of nature of an Ansel Adams, but works that deliberately blur the line where light and water meet in the same way a painter might blur the line with a brush stroke.
In fact, it's best to think of Getzler as a painter. Photography is after all, literally, "painting with light," and Getzler is in a long line of photographers who have taken that literalness to heart. You can see much the same quality in her works involving the barks of trees, or in her images derived from plants. For instance, the vibrant reds and greens, the deep, textured bark of a Rainbow Eucalyptus become another world through Getzler's eyes - a strange and new vista into a distinct part of visual experience that wouldn't happen if the viewer was merely glancing at the whole plant itself. Just as a painter may deconstruct the world in terms of color, so does Getzler, allowing us to enter into an abstract beauty that's all the more powerful for its roots in the figurative.
In my favorite triptych, radiance, the setting sun reflects upon a black body of water; a series of swirling reds and oranges are adrift upon the firmament of the ocean's sky. Yet the sun is not really present nor is the surface that reflects it. It is Getzler's skill to have rendered both irrelevant to the visual universe the viewer has entered, a place of pure delight in color and shape. It could be a reflection of the dying of the day; it easily could be the glimmering of distant galaxies as they rush away into infinity. But it is mostly an emotional place, a place that draws the viewer into thoughts of fleetingness, warmth against coldness, the ever-consuming dark and the bursts of light and love that strive against it. This is the place abstraction strives for, and Anita Getzler's brilliant, and yes beautiful work is one of the passports that can take you there.
Josine Ianco-Starrels, Curator
Anita Getzler photographs elements of the natural world whenever she finds them, wherever she finds herself. Oftentimes they are minute details - at other times they envelop the entire horizon at dawn or dusk - setting soft contours of filtered light on fire, exposing rough, grainy surfaces, and tracing ragged edges of snow and ice like knife marks on pristine white.
These visions materialize for us because her eye and her heart made her stop and save what she saw - for us. It seems as if, surprised, she opened the camera's lens to seize the image that stopped her in her tracks. They give the impressions of resulting from almost instinctive moves - and I say almost - because I know they ensue from the synthesis of an educated eye and a sensitive soul resonating to tenderly modulated nuances of textures, harmonious chords of color and rhythm or instantaneous responses to fragile wisps of light reflected on delicate surfaces.
Amazingly, all this is happening in a spectacularly aggressive environment where anything but subtlety happens to be the coin of the realm - which only proves that a poet's sensibility is a hard intangible to destroy.