TRANSCENDING THE DUST OF THE WORLD
Inspired by traditional Chinese brush and ink landscape painting, in this series of photographs Tweed is concerned less with the solidity of the world than the ephemeral transience of existence. The title, Transcending the Dust of the World, is that of chapter fifteen within the seminal treatise on brush and ink painting entitled Remarks on Painting in which the celebrated artist Shih-t’ao (1642-1707) writes:
“When a man’s vision is obscured by things, he becomes lost in the dust of the world. And when he allows these things to rule his vision, his mind becomes enslaved to them. Enslaving the mind only results in lifeless efforts, which are self-destructive. Obscured by the dust of the world, an artist’s work becomes forced and rigid. Such a situation is harmful and of no advantage. In the end, unsatisfied and joyless, one loses one’s enthusiasm. Hence I let things obscure other things and let dust mingle with dust; then my mind remains free. When the mind is free, art emerges.”
The photographs were taken flying over the Great Basin, in the American Southwest. This vast geographical region encompasses some 10,000 square miles (26,000 sq. km) extending from Salt Lake City, Utah in the east to Reno, Nevada in the west. Sparsely populated the Great Basin is largely comprised of deserts, among which are the Great Salt Lake Desert and the Mojave.