Essay for Humus by Jean Caslin
Humus is a vision quest, a spiritual journey that connects Monica Cheon's experiences of myth, vision and the natural world. As photographer of the sublime, she records those elusive scenes where fog and mist create a transformative, mood enhancing moment. She photographs at the edges of the day when the light and atmospheric conditions are changing and the scene before her becomes transcendent. Literal and metaphorical "edges" are the basis of her work, as she looks for the opening of the veil between space and time. Her luminous photographs are lyrical and poetic.
The photographer has a deep reverence and appreciation for the majestic beauty of the natural world. she creates passionate, soulful artwork that is authentic and inspired. To me, the images embody concepts of meditation, mindfulness, and loving-kindness. To fully appreciate her work, we're asked to "be in the moment," to open our hearts and minds to her wondrous vision of the wild, natural world. What began as a personal transformative journey for the artist becomes a universal experience for her viewers.
I am grateful for the quiet and tranquil otherworldiness of her photographs. from looking at the artist's work, I feel a profound sense of wonder, awe and spirituality. It's as if she's unleashing the human imagination to envision a primordial landscape before recorded time.
The Humus series ranges from abstraction to realism and is equal to the best of contemporary landscape photography of an international level. although she photographed in diverse geographic locations from 2006 to 2009, her images form a solid body of work. Visual artist throughout the ages have been inspired by nature and have created images so that they and their viewers could "return" to that soulful experience. Her compositions are deeply satisfying, and encourage the viewer to come again and again to look at them. With each viewing, more knowledge and understanding can be attained.
Making the connection between landforms and human forms is a well-known practice in contemporary art, and she explores this connection in a compelling way. She is equally as skilled at creating luminous black-and-white landscapes as she is with the subtle hues of her color work.
To be a landscape photographer is to be an environmentalist, passionately interested in the present and the future of the planet. through her work, she is a persuasive advocate for preserving the Earth for ourselves and for future generations.
Although Monica Cheon's landscapes can be appreciated solely as fine art photographs, I sense a spirituality and enlightened consciousness in her work. This publication seems perfectly timed to coincide with the profound changes in worldview and evolving consciousness of which many are now aware. Through her work, we experience a deeper understanding of Nature and Spirit.
Caslin Gregory & Associates
Houston, Texas, U.S.A.