Polygons, Earnestness & Being Sick

 

This year became very sick. My Grave’s disease, that had always been kept in check via medicine, was now throwing punches at the rest of me. Anaphylaxis, asthma, and angioedema became norms for me without much warning, as well as the ER, handfuls of benedryl, various inhalers, and the use of epipens. I have never been sick, never like this. There were weeks and weeks  where it was all I could do to stave off my throat swelling up, and keep my body from being burning hot and itchy. I have always been an energetic-never-a-bad-day-hard-charging-happy person. I would average 40 miles of biking a week via commuting to work and back. Not only was this bad, but also terrifying to have happen so suddenly and seemingly not letting up.

I want to point out this story has a happy ending, I’m fine now. After 8 months of trying to understand what was happening, realizing that it was my thyroid, and taking the steps to get rid of it I am on the road to better. ( I DID have to give up my love of skinny jeans, tomatoes, and wine— what a horrible fate!)

Snowcrystal 1, pen, graphite, and colored pencil on paper, 10 x 10 inches. 2016.

During this turbulent time in my life drawing became a help, an escape. I was able escape reality and help myself re-shape how to think about it. This isn’t a new concept for the wider world, but I became pointed for me personally. Art making became this sharp spear that I could thrust back at everything. It allowed me to gouge out a place for my heart and mind from the war in my body.

The drawings I made during this time were much more driven by my emotions then ever before. Keeping things cool and tightly under control was how I approached making drawings earlier. Once I got sick things started to flow apart, everything was given more room to breathe. The tightness of the drawings I once made, I couldn’t focus on anymore.

 

Blue Polypore, ink, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 7 x 7 inches. 2017.

Usually small and made in bed, my drawings began to take over the entire piece of paper. The dotted lines demarcated space in ink on the paper, making polygon-like shapes, and triangles that became a strange new characters. There was a rounded softness that still existed in the shapes. Each drawing began at the center, intuitively I built systems of polygons out from other systems of polygons, until a particular enticing space was made.

Flattened and layered a different sort of spacial quality developed.  At times thick black pencil lines almost obliterated the initial parts of the drawing. Colored pencil started to exist vibrantly  between the dotted lines and to wash the paper with color. It seemed that frustration and hope could exist in the same space together.

Inky Cap, ink, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 8 x 8 inches. 2017.

I thought about my anxiety, body, frustration and the impending-doom-feeling (which, I can say now, is an interesting side-effect of anaphylaxis) when making these drawings. I also thought about W.A. Bentley’s earnestness in photographing snow crystals. With the bitter cold and numb fingers he would stand out in a storm, but also the utter excitement he must of experienced at finding one that was truly unique. The symmetry that Bentley sought was of six fold symmetry at its finest, and yet rare. Every snowflake being unique is a true statement, but finding such perfect symmetry as his did was even more unique.

As I started making these drawings I knew I needed to draw something earnestly less then perfect. I needed to make drawings that were earnestly sideways, imperfect, lopsided; having vibrant colors and erasures, having different forces falling into them, splitting them open, and torn paper. I thought about how different kinds life could grow within them. Spider webs, mushroom spores, city dirt and grime.

I think of them now as small poems of hope and resistance of the unknown, drawing to make it familiar. That these could be a way of getting away and back again. That life was, at times, challenging and hard and depressing, but in the end I will be somewhere new and that might be good.

 

Radioiodine Crystal, ink, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 10 x 10 inches. 2017.

 

 

EM Images of Snow Crystals

Found this image a few weeks ago (here) from the Electron Microscopy Unit of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland…this is very much not your “typical” image of a snow crystal. They aren’t this wildly messy, imperfect with other arms of other snow crystal piled on or whole other snow crystals piled on!

(They also look like playdoh because it’s an electron microscopic image)

But this is perfectly normal ACUTALLY. This is most snow crystals. Snow crystals are thought of (and this is totally true of my experience, until I started researching and drawing these things) as 6-armed-symmetrical-perfection. However those images are just model snow crystals that humans have tirelessly sought out and taken pictures of…

“And the World Came Rushing In”

mom + Dad UCC 2016

It was a great show at the Art Gallery at UCC. It was apparently awesome (I wasn’t able to go. Going from east coast to west is hard on the wallet). My parents even showed up! Behind them is a grid of “Droplets”, 20 in total.

Here’s an article more about the art and artists.

Not pictured by my parents were two larger drawings a part of the “Droplet” series which I completed very fast before sending them out. Pictured below is one of them, “Red Columbine”.

 

 

Swarms in a Lab

First Day- First WallI was commissioned to complete 3 wall drawings for a Tristan Ursell’s laboratory  at the University of Oregon! The lab will be studying bacterial collective swarming behavior, so it was agreed upon that the work would relate to that through visual systems. The three different walls will explore three visual systems inspired by collective swarming behavior; Paenibacillus colonies, slime molds, and murmurations.

The image above is progress from the first day. It is the beginning of a visually inspired Paenibacillus colony.

Reference image below:

image of Paenibacillus. Credit: Eshel Ben-Jacob and Inna Brainis

Image of Paenibacillus. Credit: Eshel Ben-Jacob and Inna Brainis

News

13
Peregrinations, Constellations
curated by Jeanne Heifetz
Schema Projects, 92 ST Nicholas AVE Brooklyn NY 11237
February 27-March 29th, 2015
Opening reception, Friday February 27th, 6-9pm

Emily Barletta, Janice Caswell, Clint Fulkerson, Colleen Ho, Sarah Morejohn, Sharyn O’Mara, Paula Overbay, Jessica Rosner, Mia Rosenthal, Karen Schiff, Drew Shiflett, Allyson Strafella and Robert Walden.

“We live in the age of “big data.” Through the reach of the internet, researchers in almost every field can now analyze thousands, even millions, of discrete bits of information, uncovering patterns and significance that smaller data sets could never reveal. Like “big data” researchers, the artists in our show make discoveries that are only possible through the aggregation of multiple small bits of information. Whether drawn or painted, stitched or torn, stamped or struck with a typewriter key, these works’ patterns and imagery emerge from the process itself, a painstaking accumulation of tiny repeated marks.”