By Barrie Evans
Formations: Images From Rocks.
By Richard Weston.
Deukalion Press, 2007, 112pp. £16.94 from www.amazon.co.uk
This is an odd but engaging book, a collection of visual pleasures brought together for no more profound reason than that. But it’s no mean feat that, when 80 per cent of the book is images, nearly all are surprising.
Architectural critic and teacher Richard Weston has spent some three years exploring the micro-world of rock formation, examining minute slices of our slowly evolved planet under a high-powered scanner. After the initial amazement at the intricacy and clarity of detail comes our natural instinct to read ‘schools’ and narratives into these essentially scale-less images. Turner, Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock, Neil Spiller’s computer graphics, ice fields, underwater landscapes, the earth seen from space, and worlds not yet imagined are all here. That these often swirling ‘organic’ forms are in fact all inorganic takes time to register.
In a brief essay Weston touches on a more profound justification for his obsession. Contrasting the early Modernist embrace of the machine with the nature-rooted designs of second-generation Modernists like Alvar Aalto, he goes on to consider today’s increasing interest in decoration. In tune with that, he sees the images as ‘a quarry’ for all sorts of digitally manufactured items, such as fabrics and rugs.
It‘s a tribute to Weston’s polymathic curiosity that he undertook this enterprise. He invites us to stop and wonder at the world.