Fathoms

Graduate Thesis Exhibit 

March 28 - April 8, 2016

Fathoms are a measurement that indicate a distance through the movement of the body. It measures the distance from the surface of the ocean to its floor. When at sea, if something is lost over board beyond a six-fathom depth it is said to be impossible to recover and lost forever. The idea of something being lost forever once beyond a certain measurement or measure of movement was interesting to me. To explore that amount of space I created a copper wire installation that measured longer than six fathoms (or thirty-six feet). The use of wire in this intuitive weave is giving structural line to a drawing. It is like sunlight coming through water and rippling across the sand underneath until it can no longer reach a solid surface below. It is like the lines of the waves and foam rushing to the shore and then scattering back out into the open waters and then to the depths. And within the slowly tightening weave, as it leads towards the sixth fathom there are tensely woven pieces throughout, their circumference the measurement of my embrace.

The floating ethereal pieces near the end of the “Beyond Six Fathoms” installation are created of copper wire and pigmented flax paper. These pieces indicate to me something that may be found beyond the sixth fathom. They are things that are lost, covered in time by the mysteries that reside in the depths of the ocean. They are at the same time visible and invisible, beautiful and haunting. I created the first one in proportion to myself (a full fathom) and then based the rest on whether they would fit outside or inside the first one I created. Three of them hold a smaller copper part inside of them and three of them hang empty. I think of these as though they are part of the cycle they are in – some contain parts of them that remain with them for a long time beneath the waves, while others eventually that inner part would drift away, as all things that are lost do. In a corner near them is a growth of pieces that provide a tension to the hanging works. I see this small corner installation as a place where these things grew out of or decay back into, or both.

These pieces capture the idea of the balance that is provided by beauty versus anxiety. From afar the pieces read as corporeal, hanging masses that are looming. Once approached they lose their overall form and give in to the details of what they are created of, beautiful, intricate, lines woven together. The glint of copper reveals itself from the larger flats of flax. Anxiety is perpetuated by the larger forms, which have a mystery and do not present a lot of information about themselves to the viewer. The beauty is anxiety’s counterbalance, it is more information received to understand or contemplate the work, which then removes some of the fear of the overall initial shape that is encountered.

For the piece “Lengsel,” the size and limit my body could reach were very important factors. I went through different ideas concerning measurement: length, weight, years, a certain way of counting I could develop, but I eventually came to the idea that I wanted to create a piece that was in proportion to my longest length/reach, which is 89”. The movement of wrapping around my fingers was very small and intimate, yet it yields a much larger linked piece through the element of repetition. I am interested in the idea of making a movement that isn’t a tangible thing to become tangible and seeable, it is uncovering something that is hidden. The title “Lengsel” comes from Norwegian. Lengsel is the Norwegian word for longing, and I believed that in denoting a reach that was the very farthest my body could reach on its own, it was important to think I was reaching for something I could not grasp and because I could not grasp it, it became a longing.

“Transition” is an intaglio copper etching. Three printed traditionally and three printed as a relief. The figure is taken from a captured shadow from the work “Echoes” which had a different gravity to it than the other drawings I had made of shadows for the work. It felt as though gravity was pulling it downward, and I wanted to further explore this relationship between the shadow and its surroundings. The transition of the line, which turns from dark to light, changes the nature of what it is. It is no longer a shadow but something else: a specimen, something that holds light or glows, produces its own source from which light emanates.

“Echoes” is comprised of three charcoal drawings on hand formed paper. Each drawn figure is traced from the shadow of the components that create the pieces in “Ritual of Tides.” Each figure captures that which is not itself a tangible thing, a shadow. Like measurement made through the movement of the human body, a shadow tells the viewer information about an object without actually showing us the object itself. It can inform as to how much light is around it, what angle that light is at, how far away the source of light is, and how opaque or translucent the object is. A shadow gives us all of this information but still does not give us a physical object, and with the capturing of the shadow I was trying to do that, catch the object and provide a lasting physical echo of what it was.