Texture – Part I

Texture. One word. Countless interpretations.

While the 1st definition certainly applies, I’m particularly fond of the 4th definition – “an essential or characteristic quality”. I thought several of the photographs Martha took recently captured the meaning of texture remarkably well! While this series concentrates on the west patio, I’ll publish other short studies focused on textures found at various locations around the Byrne residence.

This first image, (below), was taken just as the sun was setting behind Black Mountain – you can see it in the image reflected in the windows. There are several elements worth noting – the smooth, polished surfaces, (e.g. glass, stainless steel, acrylic), the rough, pitted surfaces, (e.g. CMU, exposed aggregate, desert pavement), and those that fall in between, (e.g. river rock, corten steel, finished concrete) – because I think it’s the combination of these textures that makes them so intriguing.

Rain arrived earlier today, (Friday), and Martha was lucky enough to be at the Byrne residence to record effects caused by the gently-falling drops. The water sheets across the barbecue surface that extends to the west beyond the enclosure itself, but wicks unevenly into the CMU wall that’s just beyond. The even lighting accentuates the varying textures in the desert that stretches to the south and west just outside the enclosed space. I wonder if the Ironwood silhouette would have been so perfectly reflected in the smooth surface of the stainless steel if it were dry?

The next image, (below), was taken several days prior to the one above – sunny skies, illuminating the stark contrast between the stainless steel container cradling the so-called “ice”, (tempered glass shards), of the “fire & ice” feature suspended above a bed of recently-installed river rock sourced from a Phoenix-area river bed. A fantastic contrast between reflective and matte surfaces, sharp edges and rounded forms, subtle shadows and tapered gradients vs. uniformly opaque planes.

This next image, (below), captures the smooth, translucent surface of the cast acrylic table top, the interesting shadows cast by the emu® chairs and the exposed aggregate beneath. ..and, (again), that fantastic saw-tooth pattern caused by the corrugated steel roof overhead!

Drawing in a bit closer, we get to appreciate the stark contrast of the corten steel cylinders supporting the table and the exposed aggregate that fills the patio area. Doesn’t the shadow cast by the chairs add a significant amount of visual interest?

I couldn’t help including an image Martha captured earlier today while out on a stroll through the desert just before it began raining. I really enjoyed the similarity between the manufactured environment above, (the patio table and exposed aggregate criss-crossed by shadows from the emu® chairs), with the entirely natural environment below, noting how similar they are! The lacy shadows are replicated in the desert flora, while the craggy surface of the exposed aggregate mimics the dry, sun-baked desert floor beneath.

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