Immersive drawing installation, 74' wide x 14' tall, 2018.
Hand-drawn with charcoal pencils and compressed charcoal sticks on white paper.
Installed at the Fosdick-Nelson Gallery at Alfred University, as part of my MFA Thesis Exhibition 'Out of Body/Into Being.'
The immersive installation titled Omniscient Body invites the audience to be enveloped in space, to approach the celestial body of Mars at their own scale, to be towered over by one of the rings of Saturn, and to look up at planet Earth and the Moon as though from a great distance.
This installation began with a desire to be able to approach a celestial body. As I was already investigating Mars, I wondered if meticulously rendering its surface would enlighten me about my own. At seven and a half feet tall and wide, it just begins to loom over human height, recalling the dimensions of the sphere encircling the Vitruvian Man.
As I drew, I began relating to the planet as one body to another. Its jagged Mariner Valley became the scabbed scar across my leg; its craters began to resemble birth marks. It was my hope that my audience would begin to recognize themselves in this astronomical entity, as I did while I was drawing it.
details of mars
Entirely hand-drawn using charcoal pencils and compressed charcoal sticks on white paper, these trompe-l’oeil style drawings appear convincingly three-dimensional from afar. Upon close examination, however, one perceives the thousands of pencil marks that make up the images.
As the viewers' eyes adjust to the dim lighting, even from the seemingly smooth, empty space enveloping the planets emerge the gestural marks that make up the texture of the drawn void. The hand becomes evident in its making, revealing a record of movements and actions of the body, and allowing the viewer to imagine their own hand taking part in its creation.
What was previously perceived to be stillness becomes animated. Absence becomes presence. The void becomes full, transformed from an empty non-space into a productive, primordial scene of emergence, as though preceding the beginnings of the universe.
Drawing installation, 14' wide x 7'8" tall, 2018.
Hand-drawn using charcoal pencils and compressed charcoal sticks on white paper.
Researching the astronomical led to a phenomenon called the Overview Effect: a term used to describe the profound awe and deep cognitive shift experienced by astronauts viewing Earth from space. Described as a profound sense of bliss and timelessness, a difference-dissolving unity, and an interconnected euphoria, the Overview Effect is said to be a state similar to that achieved by meditating Buddhist monks. Looking upon the Earth also has the effect of highlighting the vulnerability and fragility of our slight planet, placing the responsibility of its care in our collective hands, and reminding us that we all originate from and coexist on the same floating speck in the universe.
Wishing to create even a glimpse of the Overview Effect for my audience, I drew the Earth and Moon for us to view as though from space. These drawings became a part of a larger, immersive drawing installation called Omniscient Body.