I make photographic images by opening heart and mind to their naturally wakeful state—vivid, raw, and intimate—like licking honey from a razor blade. The subject is “the hidden energies within ordinary objects”. Ordinary and extraordinary are simply different views of the same essential energy. I have been inspired by Rilke's poem THE WAY IN: Whoever you are, some evening take a step out of your house, which you know so well, enormous space is near........
He is saying that infinite space is right here, right now, in the midst of our day-to-day life, existing alongside the world we think we know. Or, maybe there’s nothing special ....very ordinary. Then—suddenly—familiarity gives way to shock and awe as we come eye to eye with life's inconceivable vastness and spaciousness. Even then, we still wonder—perhaps disoriented or fearful-- is this nonsense, clarity, fantasy, or the true nature of reality?
Each person brings his or her own experience and sentiments to viewing an image. Their world view collides with art and artist, resulting in resonance, annoyance, recognition, excitement, or boredom. Or as my young friends say (this took me 50 years to learn): “It is what it is” and “It's all good”.
Transient Art is based on the fact that everything changes--you cannot go back to the same stream, person, or object and make the same photograph. Even a moment later the light and subject have changed. My favorite subjects are ice, water, and other liquids. Their ever-changing states--and transitions, e.g. freezing and melting ice--have never lost their grip on my imagination. The visual dynamics of other liquids—like ink and paint—add a color dimension. They merge, blend, separate, and change each moment.
A photograph captures a MOMENT—often too brief to see with the naked eye—a FLASH--color, form, or movement--always different, always extraordinary. The photograph FREEZES the moment. Ice, water, paint and other liquids take on a life of their own--they move, morph, flash, and change appearance. Little pieces of paint suddenly explode and colors stream everywhere—then CLICK--they are gone forever. It is at once so breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking, and compelling that, at times, I have forgotten to press the shutter.
This is the world and wonder of Transient Art.
From 1972-74 I studied photography at the University of Connecticut School of Fine Art. David Kelly taught me what makes a picture deserve the label "photographic art". Next, Siegfried Halus taught me about personal vision and artistic integrity. I began exhibiting in 1972, at a Matrix Gallery group show. Later that year, I was awarded a purchase prize by jury chair (and one of my photographic heroes) Paul Caponigro. Other influences were Minor White, Wynn Bullock, Edward Weston, Duane Michaels, and Jerry Uelsmann. I worked solely with black and white film. In 1974 I began a career in clinical psychology, which I continue today. From 1979 onward, I explored other artistic media--paint, chalk pastel, pencil, and collage--but my photography was limited to "snapshots"--kids growing up and life passing by. In 2006, I returned to serious photography. Older, but surely no wiser, I went over to the dark side of color digital. Since then I have created new photographs every day, experiencing a palpable and treasured insistence to do so. Current inspirations include Ellen Jantzen and Elena Kalis. My work has been purchased internationally by fashion designers, interior designers, music industry performers and producers, and private collectors. I also exhibit at galleries in the USA.
I have included work from a number of my portfolios. The primary ones are: :
INFUSIONS, which deals with the interpenetration of colored liquids;
ICE which deals with the macro- photography of ice in nature; and
OTHER, a collection of images with primary themes of nature and abstraction.
As the online publication Capturing Capacity wrote: "Infatuated with the idea of Transient Art, Cliff Briggie works mainly with liquids, ice, and other unstable media that are constantly transforming under the macro lens of his camera. Briggie uses ice and water as a medium in which to diffuse and paint and roll the dice for fleeting aesthetica."
His contributions (or to use a more appropriate word) 'oeuvres' of ice are deconstructed into kinetic arrangements of shapes and colours which never fail to express his passion for the mystical qualities of the ordinary in our lives. I marvel at his experiments day to day and am grateful to commune with the sublime via his extraordinary artistry. Roger Guita
Moving, flowing, liquid and ephemeral are all words that come to mind for me. This seems to be a fleeting moment in time where you capture 'all that is in that moment. For me, it speaks of life itself in that things continually change and develop over time and with this painting you have captured the essence of one moment in that chain. I am so attracted to this type of image just because it reminds me of how fleeting each moment is in our lives. The colors remind me of how precious each moment is, like a gemstone of color. ZP
Lovely words....and I think a lot of art is created in trying to capture the fleeting...should we not try to embrace the fleetingness of all that we love and treasure? Our perception of what is beautiful or stirring changes, we change, our lives come to an end, everything around us changes, is constantly dying and newly created. Inge Courtney-Haenties
Organic, protoplasmatic forms swirl about in these uniquely bent photographs. It could be the primordial soup from which life first sprang, or it could be a singular alien life-form in and of itself. Whatever else it could be, it is undeniable that they are compelling; well composed and well seen photographs of wonderful strangeness. They grip my imagination, and don't easily let go...Cliff's work combines randomness, play, and photography, and I am greatly impressed by the sense of becoming, of potentiality, captured. Thomas Kent
This rocks my world... if paint could speak...this is what it would say when mating with a rock…glorious!!! Your work is so exciting…I could cry...this is just fabtabulous…I have sat around visualizing things of this nature…love this idea of paint coming alive and expressing itself...and your work screams just that…look forward to exploring more of your work. ST