I created this work after spending some time observing many images of radiolara, which are complex, microscopic skeletal structures that make up the sediment of the ocean floor. There are thousands of forms of just this one type of single celled organism. I chose to use them as the basis for this work because I found that the sheer variety and diversity of their complex structures sometimes echoed the patterns and structure of many other larger organic forms, and yet they seem to have an other-worldly landscape quality. I found these turn of the century scientific illustrations to be rich territory for creating contemporary imagery that is about life, growth and evolution.
The painstaking process of describing each feature with a small knife or pencil was itself an exercise in meditation on growth, evolving shapes and repeating biological patterns. I chose to work with medical film in part because the subtle shadows cast by the semi-transparencies adds a layer of visual intrigue. It also echoes the skeletal and invisible nature of the radiolaria itself. The magnification of ocean sediment served a similar function as the making of an x-ray: it makes visible to the naked eye that which is normally obscured from casual observation and introduces a new way of seeing.
I chose to create this piece in stages, where each new step in the creation of the work was a response to earlier physical objects. This method provides a naturally meditative pace to the work, which lends the work a careful and contemplative quality. The choice to invest significant time and effort in creating the drawing directly on drywall is a metaphor for the fleeting nature of life itself. An unanticipated reinforcement that happened with this installation is the mandala-type shadow shape that can be experienced by the whole body, by standing below the suspended MRI film . I hope that contemplating this work will be stimulating, inspiring and intriguing for your eyes and mind.
Hand cut MRI film and Japanese papers, plexiglass, india ink, graphite, colored pencil and pastel on drywall