Boundaries and Infinities: New Work By Therese Zemlin
My art begins as a desire to make something beautiful and tangible in response to the constructs of technology and society and the forms and phenomena of nature. For years, I have taken photographs of plants, skies, and water as a means of collecting inspiration and source material for my work. Ongoing developments in technology surrounding digital cameras, scanners, and large format printers have allowed me to work with these images in much the same way that I approach drawing and sculpture.
Early in 2004 I began tracing the outlines of pistachio shells as a means of framing and isolating small bits of my digital photographs. This led to overprinting these forms on top of the images, and eventually to my cutting into and layering the digital prints themselves.
The cutout areas allow the viewer to move through the layers of imagery, creating a warped sense of space and distance, and shifting our sense of what is inert and what is dynamic. The works relate to our tendency to filter out what is in front of us, in order to see something distant: For example, looking through a crack in a fence to see the sky, or looking through binoculars to focus on something distant. The ellipse as a reference to the lens (microscope, telescope) implies a subtext questioning the correlation between how we perceive and what we think we know. The ellipse is also the product of a culturally construed geometry, at odds with the images from nature.
"I unlatched the shutters. The light was as intense as a love affair. I was blinded, delighted, not just because it was warm and wonderful, but because nature measures nothing. Nobody needs this much sunlight. Nobody needs droughts, volcanoes, monsoons, tornadoes, either, but we get them, because our world is as extravagant as a world can be. We are the ones obsessed with measurement. The world just pours it out."
Jeanette Winterson, Lighthousekeeping, 2004