Elements Series - Earth Triptych Picture

Mixed Media Bas Relief Sculpture / Painting completed in 2003/2004.

This work was part of a series of pieces done on the topic of the Elements, i.e. Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Ether...And I finished three of them. I chose to arrange the composition in a left to right sequence, similar to a comic book or contact sheet, or filmstrip. The surface is divided into quadrants divisible by 4. There is a scale logic and numerology at work in the dimensions. Total area is 48 x 80 inches. First panel at left is 16x48. Center Panel is 40x48 Right Panel is 24 x 48.
Conceptually, the left Panel is the element translated by the realm of living beings. Considering the element is a manifestation of energy, the form that energy takes as it passes through the patterns of unfolding systems in the physiology, biology, zoology, of various living creatures, the energy is transformed into form, in this case, the scales of a snake. I chose to sculpt the scales of the African Tree Viper for this panel. It is the Uroboros, the mythological serpent swallowing it's own tail. The cycle of life. The singularity around which the curvature of the snakes body forms, defining the realm in which matter condenses from higher energy states. The serpent's scales are blue-green and could almost be mistaken for stunted bird feathers at this scale.
The central piece is a tree-form fractal image duplicated around a central pivot. The earth is a geological form, the sphere, a mass with topographical anomalies affected by the functional phenomena of precipitation, erosion, sedimentation, subduction, etc, all subjects of the governance of gravity. The mass of the earth itself, collected around a node or singularity, creates a pole magnet, especially due to the iron core. The tree-form fractal is a metaphor for the governance of gravity on topology, topography, geology, etc, subjected to slow processional changes over time. Other examples are: River deltas, Watersheds at (point of origin) high altitudes, lungs, lightning, all are examples of path of least resistance phenomena.

The center image in the triptych is the element itself, iron filings settled and rusted in the depressions of the tree-form pattern. The piece was cast in plaster and when the iron filings had rusted fully, bleeding rust into the plaster in a halo of muted oranges, a coat of beeswax was used to seal the whole surface which gave the plaster a warm off-white to yellow tint..

The panel at right is composed of 12 panel quadrants: 3 wide, 4 high, which are plaster casts of iron filings organized by a magnet which was placed under a tray holding the filings. The magnet was rotated 30 degrees from panel to panel to create snapshots of the magnetic field lines made visible by the order of the filings. This describes the 360 degree magnetic field of the earth, the element as translated by the physical realm.
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