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Alight and arise

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00102054/00001

Material Information

Title: Alight and arise
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Schimik, Kristin ( Dissertant )
Smith, Nan ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010
Copyright Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Art and Art History thesis, M.F.A

Notes

Abstract: The 20th Century was a period of extensive human mapping of both exterior and interior terrain. Science labored to record the observable cosmos: from the Earth’s surface, depths and atmosphere down to the sub-atomic particles of quantum physics and broadly out to the farthest perceptible galaxies and stars. If we accept the basic principle of Integral Theory, which states that the universe is composed of holons, nested wholes each simultaneously a part of another whole; we can begin to conceive of our location. Where are we, relative to the largest known and the smallest known entities? What time is it for humanity, within the context of deep time? Equally important to the cosmographical mapping of the objective external environment is the charting of human consciousness. Individual awareness grows through a series of stages, transcending and including the understanding from each preceding stage. Similarly, collective culture proceeds through developmental stages; technology and infrastructure facilitate flow and connection that accelerates the development, moving from foraging, horticultural, agrarian, industrial, and on to informational. Paired with the recognition of the process of evolution and the fact that complexity is increasing through time, humanity now has the data to assimilate and generate a revised and revitalized metanarrative1. Alight and Arise, two large-scale ceramic sculptures, spatially display a representation of deep time through layered and accumulated material. From the Big Bang onward, form has settled out into space. The clay has been sculpted to suggest black, meteoric rock, glittering with precious materials. The sculptures appear as hybridized polyforms: part cloud, tooth, mountain, iceberg, muffin, stalagmite, and geologic sample. Holons are suggested through a scale relationship between minute glittering bits of rock-like slag functioning as mineral atomic earth, and small sterling silver stars imbedded in the landscape at the top of the form. The dark clay surface sets up the ground to contrast with two different horizontal layers of metallic ghost imagery: one of human infrastructure and the other of sacred architecture. These recognizable images of human presence are located near the tops of the forms above the majority of layered material to suggest their recent development within the context of deep time. Humanity’s efforts to transcend and arise with collective consciousness are illustrated by images of vertical building: utility towers and industrial infrastructure of the existential worldview appear next to a layer of globally diverse sacred architecture. As a sculptor, I want viewers to have a bodily experience of form that expresses a sense of descending and ascending from a central convergence point. 1 Jean-François Lyotard’s terminology; used in a critique of the enlightenment
Acquisition: Ceramics terminal project

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UF00102054:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00102054/00001

Material Information

Title: Alight and arise
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Schimik, Kristin ( Dissertant )
Smith, Nan ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010
Copyright Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Art and Art History thesis, M.F.A

Notes

Abstract: The 20th Century was a period of extensive human mapping of both exterior and interior terrain. Science labored to record the observable cosmos: from the Earth’s surface, depths and atmosphere down to the sub-atomic particles of quantum physics and broadly out to the farthest perceptible galaxies and stars. If we accept the basic principle of Integral Theory, which states that the universe is composed of holons, nested wholes each simultaneously a part of another whole; we can begin to conceive of our location. Where are we, relative to the largest known and the smallest known entities? What time is it for humanity, within the context of deep time? Equally important to the cosmographical mapping of the objective external environment is the charting of human consciousness. Individual awareness grows through a series of stages, transcending and including the understanding from each preceding stage. Similarly, collective culture proceeds through developmental stages; technology and infrastructure facilitate flow and connection that accelerates the development, moving from foraging, horticultural, agrarian, industrial, and on to informational. Paired with the recognition of the process of evolution and the fact that complexity is increasing through time, humanity now has the data to assimilate and generate a revised and revitalized metanarrative1. Alight and Arise, two large-scale ceramic sculptures, spatially display a representation of deep time through layered and accumulated material. From the Big Bang onward, form has settled out into space. The clay has been sculpted to suggest black, meteoric rock, glittering with precious materials. The sculptures appear as hybridized polyforms: part cloud, tooth, mountain, iceberg, muffin, stalagmite, and geologic sample. Holons are suggested through a scale relationship between minute glittering bits of rock-like slag functioning as mineral atomic earth, and small sterling silver stars imbedded in the landscape at the top of the form. The dark clay surface sets up the ground to contrast with two different horizontal layers of metallic ghost imagery: one of human infrastructure and the other of sacred architecture. These recognizable images of human presence are located near the tops of the forms above the majority of layered material to suggest their recent development within the context of deep time. Humanity’s efforts to transcend and arise with collective consciousness are illustrated by images of vertical building: utility towers and industrial infrastructure of the existential worldview appear next to a layer of globally diverse sacred architecture. As a sculptor, I want viewers to have a bodily experience of form that expresses a sense of descending and ascending from a central convergence point. 1 Jean-François Lyotard’s terminology; used in a critique of the enlightenment
Acquisition: Ceramics terminal project

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UF00102054:00001


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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Copyright
        Page 2
    Dedication
        Page 3
    Acknowledgement
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Abstract
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Main
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
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Full Text










ALIGHT AND ARISE


By

KRISTIN SCHIMIK















A PROJECT IN LIEW OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF FINE ARTS

U NIVE RS ITY O F FLO RI DA

2010


































@ 2010 Kristin Schimik




























To my grandmother, Dorothea "Omi" Gallowitsch Schimik
December 15, 1921 to March 23, 2009









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to express my gratitude to the faculty and staff in the School or Art and

Art History at the University of Florida for three years of their assistance, their questions,

and their persistence. Additionally I would I like to acknowledge my fellow graduate

students: the hardworking and dedicated peers with whom I have had the good fortune

to work alongside. Thanks to the generous efforts of several graduate, post-

baccalaureate, and undergraduate ceramics students, the compound demands of

constructing simultaneously highly detailed, large-scale work for this exhibition were

met. Most importantly, I want to extend special appreciation for the continued love and

support from my family.












TABLE OF CONTENTS





AC KNOWLE DG M ENTS ................. ................. 4.........


LIST OF FIGURES................. ...............


ABSTRACT ................. ................. 7........_....


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ................. 9........_....


2 DEEP TIME: FORM ALIGHTS................................. 10


Integral Theory and Holons................ ................ 10
Cosmology: the Alchemy of Star Fusion ................. ................. 11........_..
Integral Theory: the Four Quadrant System................... ................ 12
Ascension of Individual Human Consciousness and Collective Human Culture..... 13


3 THE CONTEMPORARY EFFORT TO ARISE ........._..... ...._... ........_.._.... 15


Ancient Sunlight..................... ...................... 15
Resource Extraction for Wealth Generation................ .............. 15
Mining of Source Materials and the Landscape ........._.._.. ....._.._ ........._..... 16

4 I NSTALLATI ON AESTH ETICS ........._...... ............... 18._._.. ..


Materials and Form Language ...._.._.._ ......_._. .....__. ............ 1
Spatial Dynamics ........._..... ...._... ..............._ 20...
Use of Line............ ...................... 20


5 INFLUENCES ........._..... ...._... ..............._ 33...


Artists ........._.._..... ....... ._ ..............._ 33....
Edward Burtynsky ................. ................. 33........ ....
Camille Rose Garcia ................. ................. 33........ ...
Rick Parsons ................. ................. 34........ ....
Thailand ................. ................. 34........ ....


6 CONCLUSION ................. ................. 35........ ...


LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ................. 36........ ...


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ................. 37........ ....










LIST OF FIGURES


4-1 Alight and Arise installation view of both sculptures............_.._. .........._.._. .. 22

4-2 Alight and Arise installation view two................ .................. 23

4-3 Detail of Legs. A) Both sculptures. B) Sculpture #1 ........._..._. .. ......._..._. .... 24

4-4 Alight and Arise sculpture #1 ......_.._._ .... ..._.. .......__...........2

4-5 Alight and Arise. A) Detail of coal slag. B) Sculpture #1 detail showing
scale relationship between coal slag and sterling silver stars.............._..._. ......... 26

4-6 Sculpture #2 detail showing coal slag, silver stars, luster layers. ........._..._....... 27

4-7 Metallic luster imagery detail of power lines. ........._..._.. ....._.. ............ 28

4-8 Detail of layering on sculpture #1. ........._.. ...._..... ...._.._ ..........2

4-9 Detail of luster layering on sculpture #1 ........._.._ .. ....... ......._..._.......3

4-106 Metallic luster imagery detail of tem ples. ....._._._ ..... ... .__ ........_...... 31

4-11 Landscape layering effect between both sculptures............_._. ........._._..... 32









Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts

ALIGHT AND ARISE

By

Kristin Schimik

August 2010

Chair: Nan Smith
Major: Art

The 20th Century was a period of extensive human mapping of both exterior and

interior terrain. Science labored to record the observable cosmos: from the Earth's

surface, depths and atmosphere down to the sub-atomic particles of quantum physics

and broadly out to the farthest perceptible galaxies and stars. If we accept the basic

principle of Integral Theory, which states that the universe is composed of holons,

nested wholes each simultaneously a part of another whole; we can begin to conceive

of our location. Where are we, relative to the largest known and the smallest known

entities? What time is it for humanity, within the context of deep time?

Equally important to the cosmographical mapping of the objective external

environment is the charting of human consciousness. Individual awareness grows

through a series of stages, transcending and including the understanding from each

preceding stage. Similarly, collective culture proceeds through developmental stages;

technology and infrastructure facilitate flow and connection that accelerates the

development, moving from foraging, horticultural, agrarian, industrial, and on to

informational. Paired with the recognition of the process of evolution and the fact that









complexity is increasing through time, humanity now has the data to assimilate and

generate a revised and revitalized metanarrative'.

Alight and Arise, two large-scale ceramic sculptures, spatially display a

representation of deep time through layered and accumulated material. From the Big

Bang onward, form has settled out into space. The clay has been sculpted to suggest

black, meteoric rock, glittering with precious materials. The sculptures appear as

hybridized polyforms: part cloud, tooth, mountain, iceberg, muffin, stalagmite, and

geologic sample. Holons are suggested through a scale relationship between minute

glittering bits of rock-like slag functioning as mineral atomic earth, and small sterling

silver stars imbedded in the landscape at the top of the form.

The dark clay surface sets up the ground to contrast with two different horizontal

layers of metallic ghost imagery: one of human infrastructure and the other of sacred

arch itecture. These recognizable images of human presence are located near the tops

of the forms above the majority of layered material to suggest their recent development

within the context of deep time. Humanity's efforts to transcend and arise with collective

consciousness are illustrated by images of vertical building: utility towers and industrial

infrastructure of the existential worldview appear next to a layer of globally diverse

sacred architecture. As a sculptor, I want viewers to have a bodily experience of form

that expresses a sense of descending and ascending from a central convergence point.








SJean-Frangois Lyotard's terminology; used in a critique of the enlightenment paradigm in his work The
Postmodern Condition, University of Minnesota Press, 1984.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Where are we relative to the largest known and the smallest known entities? What

time is it for humanity within the context of deep time? Alight and Arise engages with

the intersection of the deep historical time of our 13-billion-year-old universe and the

contemporary predicament of humanity within that context. My sculptures spatially

describe the dual forces of matter descending into space within a still-expanding

universe and of life and humanity striving to evolve, ascend, and build ever upward

within that space. The architectural imagery depicted on the sculptures serves as a

metaphor for collective consciousness and its motion toward transcendence of the

preceding level.









CHAPTER 2
DEEP TIME: FORM ALIGHTS

Integral Theory and Holons

Reality is composed neither of things nor processes, neither wholes nor
parts, but whole/parts, or holons all the way up, all the way down.
Ken Wilber, from A Brief History of Everything, (1 8)

Arthur Koestler generated the term holon in response to his recognition that

wholes or parts do not exist in an absolute sense. Rather, any whole can be broken

down into constituent parts, again and again, (cells comprised of molecules, atoms,

quarks) and each understood whole also nested inside of an even larger whole (Earth,

Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Super Cluster).

Currently an extraordinary amount of scientifically mapped information is

available regarding the known universe at the quantum scale, the cosmic scale, and

everything in between. The investigative process continues, yet the evidence and data

are now so overwhelming that most scientists agree as to the age of the Earth, the age

of the universe, and the fact that the universe is expanding.

Integral theorist Ken Wilber points out that holons emerge, favoring greater and

greater complexity overall ("Brief" 21-22). Life on our own planet has emerged and

evolved through time to become exquisitely sophisticated and interdependent. All

higher life forms are completely reliant on the health and integrity of the lower holons.

At the foundation, the existence of humanity relies upon the captured sunlight energy

contained within plants. This celestial energy is consumed directly as plant food or as a

source of the nutrients that sustain the animals in our diets. The plants' health has a

fundamental dependence on access to sustained sunlight energy in addition to the

viability of the organisms and microorganisms that reconstitute the soil in which the









plants are grown. Further complicating the system, many plants require pollinators for

fertilization in the form of insects, butterflies, bats and birds. Continued existence of

plants then depends on the health and integrity of the habitat, expanding outward to

include all the sustenance needs of the pollinators.

Though the trajectory moves toward greater complexity, the emergence of holons

is neither constant nor stable. Dinosaurs had similar environmental requirements as

humans, yet these forms dissolved and gave rise to other entities. The formal

development and progression of all holons is not fixed; dinosaurs and other extinct

animals have not reemerged on our planet. Likewise, humans may continue to upset

the ecological balance of the Earth through climate change and habitat destruction, to

the extent that life on the planet is reduced back down to more simple holons. These

primary holons may again give rise, but to something else. Stars and planets are also

born and then die. Stars, following the Great Radiance2, have been in the process of

forming and reforming, slowly creating more diverse materials over the 13-billion-year

history of the universe. Despite the death and dissolution of many holons, the overall

pattern of the cosmos is one of emergence of greater and greater complexity.

Cosmology: the Alchemy of Star Fusion

Stars begin with the combustion of hydrogen, the simplest element in the

universe, atomic number one with one proton. Through nuclear fusion inside the star,

heavier and more complex elements are generated, growing in atomic number and

mass, finally making out at iron, atomic number 26. These substances are literally

being born within the burning hearts of stars. Among these are key elements: the


2Barlow's terminology for the Big Bang; emphasis is on light rather than a bomb-like explosion.









carbon necessary for the formation of life, and the silicon needed for the formation of all

silicate rocks and minerals of Earth's crust. Elements beyond iron are not created by

the heat and power within the combusting star. Instead, these heavier and more

massive elements are generated by the phenomenal power of the supernova explosion.

When a crucial balance is upset within the fusing layers of elements in the star, this

explosion causes the star to collapse in on its core. Massive stars are layered like an

onion, burning hydrogen at the exterior, then carbon, oxygen, silicon: forging more

complex elements deeper within each layer. At the end of the line is iron. When it

ceases to fuse and combust, a shock wave generates a massive explosion with more

intensity than of all energy expended by our sun during its entire lifetime (Tolstikhin 77).

The death of the concentrated star-form is the birth of glowing stardust that contains

elements with an even higher complexity of structure. Herein is the origin of copper,

platinum, gold, and all other elements beyond iron. Each element in our bodies was

born in the heart of a star or generated in the spectacular radiant explosion that

occurred at the time of its death. Elements beyond iron, at number 26 on the periodic

table (with 26 protons) are much less common in the universe.

Despite the vast scale and immense complexity of the universe, all of its

substance and form settles out into just over one hundred chemical elements, mapped

in the Periodic Table. Together, they form the current manifestation of our solar system

and Earth; and create the foundation for life, consciousness and human culture.

Integral Theory: the Four Quadrant System

Maps are essential in order to grasp our spatial location within broader contexts.

The Periodic Table of the Elements is a recent navigational tool, pieced together in the

last two centuries, the data a continuance of the probing questions of alchemists. This









mapping system has been crucial to humanity's understanding of the physical universe

at a scale beneath the tangible. Exterior mapping of the tiniest atoms to the most

massive stars can only represent a partial reality. A principal aim of Integral Theory is

to assimilate and find congruence between the interior and exterior of holons. Integral

Theory creates an integrated map used to navigate the external and internal space of

holons in an evolving and living universe. The Four Quadrant System is the beginning

of a comprehensive map that strives to assimilate hard science with a "spectrum of

consciousness" comprising less concrete data, from psychology to mysticism ("Integral

Life" 10).

Ascension of Individual Human Consciousness and Collective Human Culture

Consciousness exists in a spectrum that is also holonic in structure. Wilber

points out that each holon has both an exterior that is mappable by objective science,

and an interior that is knowable through interpretation and contemplation ("Brief" 68 -

69). We can easily objectively measure the development of a human child: in inches, in

quantity of food consumed, in tasks performed. The developing complexity of a child's

subjective space, or interior consciousness, similarly transforms: but we must interpret

these depths through engagement in inter-subjective space. An individual begins life

with a narcissistic and egocentric capacity. In time, the individual's consciousness

expands to include more and more within its identity. It moves from single self, to self

and family, to self and tribe; then to awareness of self and region, self and nation. An

increased awareness can possibly move onward to self and all of humanity, self and all

living beings; ultimately even to non-dual awareness where there is no longer a divide

between self-identity and the entire universe ("Brief" 129).









Consciousness tends to evolve through time to become more expansive at both

the individual and collective levels. Anthropologists have observed the relationship

among techo-economic base, infrastructure, and the corresponding worldview of the

culture. Just as the simple chemistry of the early universe gave rise to more complex

elements, our collective human consciousness is also growing, shifting dynamically and

increasing in complexity.









CHAPTER 3
THE CONTEMPORARY EFFORT TO ARISE

Ancient Sunlight

We're all made out of sunlight, and everything we depend on is fueled by
sunlight. For hundreds of thousands of years we lived off of current local
sunlight. Then we discovered ancient sunlight, buried in the ground, and
began consuming it ..
Thom Hartmann, from The Last Hours ofAncient Sunlight, (84)

Hartmann and others recognize that life on Earth arises thanks to the energy from

our local star, the sun. Humanity has ignited a powerful wave of global growth with the

mass combustion of fossil fuels in the form of coal, oil, and gas. Along with this has

come unprecedented environmental destruction on the global scale. As humanity's

technological capabilities and infrastructure advance outward, Earth's global biodiversity

steeply declines. Extensive resource extraction results in a deterioration of

environmental quality. To humans, the Earth's age appears infinite yet the resources

available are acutely limited. Within the landscape, in nearly all places on the planet,

there exists evidence that humanity has harnessed natural resources. Mines, logging,

mountaintop removal, utility towers, processing plants, transportation infrastructure, and

satellites reflect technological advancements and global environmental decline.

Resource Extraction for Wealth Generation

Contemporary culture is characterized by ideology that supports the creation of

wealth through the expansion and development of virgin lands and the extraction of the

Earth's natural resources. In his book Re Wealth, author Storm Cunningham calls for a

massive correction of both our language and cultural logic to reflect the finitude of the

material wealth of the Earth. Non-regenerative source materials, such as metals, fossil

fuels, fossil aquifers, and fossil soil need to be distinguished from resources, such as









renewable forests and sustainable fisheries. Cunningham states: "While capitalism,

socialism, and communism differ significantly on how wealth is distributed, and on how

labor is managed, they all agree on how wealth is created. Each is a variation on a

single theme, permutations of a single model: dewealth." "It's a pioneering, sprawl-

based model, based on there always being fresh green fields over the horizon" (21). As

we round the bend toward a more expanded worldview, humanity must recognize that

our source materials and habitats are not only limited but currently in decline. Not only

are there no longer fresh green fields over the horizon, but the global water is dirtier

today than yesterday, fisheries are producing less than the decade before, and the ice

shields at the Earth's poles are reduced a bit more this year than last.

Mining of Source Mlaterials and the Landscape

Visually, mines offer a window into the deeper history of the earth. It is possible to

observe, sleeping beneath the surface, the layers of ancient sunlight once captured by

extinct plants, compressed and concentrated into the form of glittering, sparkling, black

coal. In other areas, where the Earth exposes some of the oldest rock, there are

shimmering purplish-black ores of banded iron formation. These ores were formed in

the time before the emergence of plants, when cyanobacteria instead collected and

concentrated iron. It is the most common metallic element of the universe. Incredibly

heavy and dense, remarkably iron is born from fusion inside stars. Additionally, there

are locations on the surface of Earth where metals more evolved and rare than iron are

mined from ancient impact craters. Foreign bodies collided with the Earth, displacing

the nickel and other heavy metals beneath the Earth's crust. These metals are born

from the brief but intense energy and radiance of a supernova explosion (Tolstikhin 77-

78). To visit a mine is to potentially be dazzled by beauty and mystery, while









simultaneously being horrified by the destruction of a landscape that once could support

an ecosystem.









CHAPTER 4
INSTALLATION AESTHETICS

Materials and Form Language

The installation consists of two large-scale floor sculptures; each perched

precariously atop delicate legs. Both large sculptures use the level space to feature an

illusory reflection of a changing landscape horizon when viewed in the round. The

installation is strongly suggestive of maps and earth forms but, upon examination, fine

and exquisite details are revealed (Figures 4-1 and 4-2).

The sculptures are constructed to resemble a range of natural, geologic, and

celestial forms. Each appears as a hybridized polyform: part cloud, stalactite, tooth,

mountain, iceberg, canyon, rock, map, spire, muffin, and geologic sample. Sculpting

the forms by tearing and building up layer upon layer of clay holds a similarity to actual

geologic processes and encourages the viewer to consider the contemporary

landscape. The sculptures are constructed primarily from clay with slag and stone

inclusions that reference deep geology and alchemy. The clay itself is a vitreous black

stoneware, high in manganese and iron. This composition corresponds to the more

common materials found throughout the universe and our own Earth. These are the

elements and metals created in the general processes of star fusion.

Small bands of metallic luster appear on the legs of the sculptures. These

lusters are made from actual copper, platinum, and gold and reference the rare highly

valued metals generated in the heat and power of the supernova explosion. Humanity

has shown a willingness to tolerate a great deal of environmental devastation in the

pursuit of these and other source materials. Visually, the metallic bands are all located

in areas of the legs that are weak points. The solid metallic areas in the legs set up a









relationship with the bands of ghost imagery of human infrastructure on the tops of the

sculptures to signify that everything humanity builds comes from a finite supply of

precious materials found within the Earth (Fiqures 4-3 and 4-4).

Coal slag, a byproduct of our energy production, is included in certain areas

within the clay wall. When fired, it bears a resemblance to stars glittering in the night sky

through a subtle palette of metallic colors. This is a result of a diverse representation of

metallic elements (both basic and advanced) from the periodic table that have been

concentrated from the original plants into the coal. Even though this palette is much

darker than actual stars, the coal slag does resemble the size and hue variation of stars

viewed with the naked eye. The effect of this is to allude to the holonic structure in all

things within our universe: the large in the small and the small in the large (Fiqure 4-5

and 4-6).

The dark, purplish-black of the clay surface and matte, black-glazed areas set up

the background coloration of the sculpture. This ground contrasts with metallic ghost

imagery and objects which appear on its surface in bright and rainbow luster to convey

a certain ominous enchantment. Precisely detailed ghost images of industrial structures,

showing resource extraction and transport, reference human presence. The images are

scaled down relative to the total sculpture to signify the relatively short time humans

have existed in space. Furthermore, the impermanence of humanity is signified by the

use of two-dimensional images on the highly tactile, three-dimensional forms. These

recognizable images reflect the powerful mechanism of collective human activity on the

landscape. The ghost imagery is luminous and reflects the current state of humanity in

the convergence point between earth and sky (Fiqure 4-7).









Spatial Dynamics

The majority of the sculpture's mass hovers 4 feet above the ground or floor plane.

Each of the two works is elevated on three legs to a maximum height of 65 inches. This

height allows viewers to have a bodily and spatial experience with the work, relating to

the objects as equals rather than implements. It also offers the viewer close visual

contact with the layers of detailed ghost imagery near the top of each sculpture. The

majority of each sculpture is heavily textured up to a height of 58 inches. That textured

area represents the portion of landscape that exists below ground and the portion that

existed prior to the emergence of humanity. A bodily impression of being swimming or

floating next to the work is created by spatially locating the convergence point at heart

height for the average viewer (Figure 4-4).

Use of Line

Line is a key component of the sculptural design. Each sculpture was

constructed with undulating organic lines layered throughout the form. Cosmic and

geologic processes generate forms that exhibit an underlying geometry and pattern.

This patterning nearly always reflects the collection of surface and compositional

variety. The surfaces of the sculptures in Alight and Arise allude to a multitude of

geologic and cosmic processes. The straight lines on the works found only in the ghost

imagery reflect the purely geometric human-made tower forms for electric utility

infrastructure and oil extraction. Located above this rationallexistential layer are

concrete examples of sacred architecture found around the globe. These human-built

sacred towers are also overwhelmingly constructed with straight lines. Though the

secular and sacred tower images are miniscule details relative to the sculptures at

large, they function as an inversion of the tapered and pointed legs beneath the mass of









each form. Descending and settling out into space is matter and form, over the vast

expanse of the deep time scale. Meanwhile human consciousness, a relatively recent

development, strives to build its tiny towers ever upwards (Fiqures 4-8, 4-9, 4-10, 4-11).












































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Figure 4-1: Alight and Arise installation view of both sculptures.

































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Figure 4-2. Alight and Arise installation view two.








































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Figure 4-3: Detail of Legs. A) Both sculptures. B) Sculpture #1.



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Figure 4-5: Alight and Arise. A) Detail of coal slag. B) Sculpture #1 detail showing
scale relationship between coal slag and sterling silver stars.


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Figure 4-6: Sculpture #2 detail showing coal slag, silver stars, luster layers.

27











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Figure 4-7: Metallic luster imagery detail of power lines.


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Figure 4-8: Detail of layering on sculpture #1.


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Figure 4-9: Detail of luster layering on sculpture #1.

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Figure 4-11: Landscape layering effect between both sculptures.









CHAPTER 5
INFLUENCES

Artists

Edward Burtynsky

Contemporary Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky depicts landscapes

that result from large-scale human disruption of the Earth. In the late 1990's, I

experienced several of his photographs of the large mining complex in Sudbury,

Ontario. These images depict brilliant orange rivers of nickel tailings, flowing through

otherwise darkened landscapes due to chemical contamination near the Inco

superstack, one of the tallest chimneys in the world. (Inco Superstack, 2010)

Burtynsky's photographs reflect actual unaltered landscapes that largely go unseen by

the general public. Their power comes from a combination of stunningly beautiful

composition paired with the unsettling knowledge of one's personal involvement in the

human economic systems that results in such extraordinarily vast destruction and

change.

Camille Rose Garcia

Camille Rose Garcia is a contemporary American painter who creates works in

Pop-Surrealist style. I developed an appreciation for several canvases from Tragic

Kingdom, a solo exhibition of Garcia's work at the San Jose Museum of Art in 2007. In

these works, Garcia selected a palette that was primarily black with areas of bright color

and metallics in order to generate jarring landscapes juxtaposing the glittering

innocence of Disney's candy-coated world with the unfortunate reality of environmental

destruction. Of particular interest was Garcia's pairing of glittering beauty and

darkness, with an underlying environmental emphasis.









Rick Parsons

The works of Rick Parsons, a contemporary American sculptor, who often uses

clay, steel, and salt, have also been influential. Parsons constructs material and spatial

systems employing a personal alchemy. The porous clay is used to absorb salt water,

which in turn corrodes the steel that it is placed in contact with. The chemical change

and alteration of materials is utilized to create spatial and tactile narratives focusing on

environmental contamination. Of particular interest to me was the relational alchemy

and interdependence between the materials in Parson's work.

Thailand

The landscape and culture of Thailand were also strongly influential in the

aesthetics and content of Alight and Arise. Thailand is filled with temples that are

intricate, meticulously constructed and covered with gold; however they exist

surrounded by air that is absolutely filthy, hanging heavy with particulate pollution.I

spent several months in Thailand in 2003 and was fascinated by this contrast of glitter

and filth. The environmental disparity of the ancient tiled and gilded temples

surrounded by a thriving, messy, and vibrantly alive contemporary culture was striking.









CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION

My sculptures consider the mystery of where we are and where we are going

within the context of deep time. The viewers have an experience that is understood in

a physical and tactile sense. The sculptures in Alight and Arise function both bodily and

spatially, to provide those experiences. The forms are designed to allow for a sense of

elevated weight that is not entirely at rest, and to also provide a sense of ambiguity

regarding the material and its origins. This, coupled with the subtly glittering metallic

imagery accessed through motion, creates a space for viewers to shift contemplation

between the contemporary landscape and the vast expanse of geologic and deep time.

My installation poses three pertinent questions: Where does form originate?

What is truly of value to humanity? And can we move forward without ascending and

descending simultaneously? My sculptures are an act of mapping contemporary and

primordial landforms to suggest a broader cosmology.









LIST OF REFERENCES


Barlow, Connie. Green Space, Green Time: the way of science. New York: Copernicus,
1997.

Brown, Cynthia Stokes. Biq History: From the Big Banq to the Present. New York: The
New Press, 2007.

Cunningham, Storm. ReWealth. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

Hartmann, Thom. The Last Hours of Ancient Sunliqht. New York: Three Rivers Press,
2004.

Haught, John F., ed. Science and Reliqion in Search of Cosmic Purpose. Washington:
Georgetown Univeristy Press, 2000.

Liebes, Sidney, Elisabet Sahtouris, & Brian Swimme. A Walk Throuqh Time: From
Stardust to Us. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1998.

Luhr, James F., ed. Smithsonian Earth: The Definitive Visual Guide. New York: DK
Publishing, 2007.

Tolstikhin, Igor and Jan Kramers. The Evolution of Matter: From the Biq Banq to the
Present Day Earth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Wilber, Ken. A Brief History of Everythinq. Boston: Shambhala, 2000.

-. No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth. Boston:
Shambhala, 1985.

-. The Eye of Spirit. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.

-. The Inteqral Vision. Boston: Shambhala, 2007.

Wilber, Ken, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard, & Marco Morelli. Integral Life Practice.
Boston: Integral Books, 2008.









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Kristin Schimik earned a BFA in sculpture from Northern Michigan University. She

has served two years as an Americorps volunteer, conducting watershed restoration

and community revitalization in Northern California. Schimik has been an Artist-in-

Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts and the Holter Museum

of Art in Montana, and at Umdang Ceramics of Thailand. Her work was recently

exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts at Florida State University and at the Jingdezhen

Contemporary International Ceramics Exhibition in China. Schimik earned her MFA

from the University of Florida in 2010. For more information please visit

http://www. kristinschimik. com