"Exploring Visual Mystery" - a quick summation of Mr. Canning's theme.  The mystery comes primarily from nature, in the form of photographs of patterns or objects.  Then he intermixes other images of related patterns or colors, from different corners of the world or space, and connections begin to appear.  Then abstract the mixture, and add elements such as symmetry to invoke the viewer's pattern-solving mind, and you have "visual mystery".

Try to stop yourself looking for a quick answer to the question "What is it?". Watch yourself viewing art (or anything else for that matter) for the first time, and you'll likely see a very fast and automatic reaction that classifies or at least names what you're seeing.  One often stops seeing much after this occurs.  Mr. Canning would like you to keep looking, and begin seeing the universality of patterns, visible at all levels of creation from the atomic to the cosmic.  By approaching each piece through a sense of fascination and wonder, and even spirituality, he hopes to share a love of natural mystery.

Mr. Canning began his exploration of visual mystery in his teens, after photographing a mud-covered cliff.  When studying proof prints, he realized worlds were contained within it, and began exploring how best to share those worlds. Later, James worked in oils and acrylics, learned and taught print-making, but eventually returned to photography.  With the advent of digital processing, he discovered ways to explore his early interests in detailed abstraction and dissociation.  He has been an adjunct professor, teaching photography and graphic arts, and has exhibited at a number of galleries and venues in Northern California.

The work is first printed, reversed, using a dye-based ink.  That print is then laid face down onto a sheet of polished aluminum.  This "sandwich" is then passed through a 500 degree oven, which causes the dye to infuse into the surface of the metal, producing a highly-detailed and richly colored image unmatched by any other printing process.