The Staxx
It is a testimony to the power of cold that one can drive out from Reykjavik on a February day and see the mighty waterfall, Golfuss, frozen solid, its fluid majesty trumped by temperature.  It is testimony to the power of photography that one can contemplate one of Clifford Ross’s “Hurricane” images and see a thundering wave stopped cold, spray and spume arrested in mid-flight, its fluid power trumped without so much as a molecule deflected from its path.  The project Ross designates “Wave Music” is, in his view, “a meditation on the medium of photography as much as a photographic reflection of our world.”  It is commonplace to think of photographs as pictorial records of the visible world, but what Ross shows us in the “Hurricane” photographs is visible only in the photographs: waves don’t stand still long enough for the eye to register and transmit to the brain’s visual region an image at all like what his photographs fix on paper — a transient stage in the wave’s irresistible shoreward surge, its power overcome by speeds the eye is incapable of, stilled into a sculptural beauty the hand is powerless to copy.  The best the painter is capable of is some schematic equivalent to the ferocity of the sea under high wind - dabs of white paint to simulate its fury, or undular scribbles to give an “impression” of the wildness of storm toss’d water.  But any one of Ross’s pictures implies the presence of the camera, for there is no other instrument that can capture the visual truth of stilled power.  — A.C. Danto

It is a testimony to the power of cold that one can drive out from Reykjavik on a February day and see the mighty waterfall, Golfuss, frozen solid, its fluid majesty trumped by temperature.  It is testimony to the power of photography that one can contemplate one of Clifford Ross’s “Hurricane” images and see a thundering wave stopped cold, spray and spume arrested in mid-flight, its fluid power trumped without so much as a molecule deflected from its path.  The project Ross designates “Wave Music” is, in his view, “a meditation on the medium of photography as much as a photographic reflection of our world.”  It is commonplace to think of photographs as pictorial records of the visible world, but what Ross shows us in the “Hurricane” photographs is visible only in the photographs: waves don’t stand still long enough for the eye to register and transmit to the brain’s visual region an image at all like what his photographs fix on paper — a transient stage in the wave’s irresistible shoreward surge, its power overcome by speeds the eye is incapable of, stilled into a sculptural beauty the hand is powerless to copy.  The best the painter is capable of is some schematic equivalent to the ferocity of the sea under high wind - dabs of white paint to simulate its fury, or undular scribbles to give an “impression” of the wildness of storm toss’d water.  But any one of Ross’s pictures implies the presence of the camera, for there is no other instrument that can capture the visual truth of stilled power. — A.C. Danto