Artist Notes on Dealing with the Endless

It started out innocuously enough. The professional paths of two artists came to a juncture at just that ripe moment in time which left them open...vulnerable, really...to the instigation of tentative mutual exploratory steps that would subsequently stretch into an ambitious collaborative trek across the province of Everything. In retrospect, the outcome of the initial adventure, entitled Biosphere, can be viewed as a concise visual schematic of both the conceptual arc and the process orientation for an open-ended project christened From Zero to Infinity. Set within an all-encompassing frame of reference that simultaneously advances and recedes through the eternal stretches of all that is, an essential vitality meanders amongst infinite potentials for transformation absent a comforting scaffold of spatial-temporal perspective that would permit a neat compartmentalized objective hierarchy of hypothesis and conclusion There are only questions sparked by accidental associations. 


Portfolio I and Portfolio II gradually evolved from this contextual model, each of these suites bearing its own unique internal characteristics which clearly suggested that the co- operative effort was not destined to a fate of morbid stasis. This impression was also reinforced by another curious attribute that consistently invested praxis: as the journey progressed, footfalls that should have grown more assertive remained provisional—in contrast to what would be expected with increased familiarity of the territory being traversed. Indeed, profitable navigation through this expedition appeared to demand a sustained sense of child-like awe and curiosity. 


A second singular work took shape in parallel with the completion of the Portfolio II suite. Common Ground was developed in response to a commission for a signature visual statement that would promote an international outreach effort appealing for meaningful unified geopolitical action to redress our collective depredation of the planet’s natural resources. Artists from around the world were invited to submit artworks that addressed the general necessity to start thinking globally, despite the particular problems that beset individual cultures. Timelessness and the universally fascinating, unburdened by polemics, permeate the core visual ethic of the From Zero to Infinity enterprise. These qualities carried through in the Common Ground piece, ensuring it a prominent station in the overarching project. 


Just as a roughly three-year cycle seemed to emerge as the recurring schedule by which portfolio suites were being developed, there occurred a remarkable though inexplicable surge of creative activity that spawned the completion of Portfolios III and IV closely followed by the start of Portfolio V, the generation of several singular large-scale panoramas, and the production of the Gilded Cell suite of ten unique rare metal-leafed pieces based on cell biology research photomicrographs. In addition to these works, a library of unique leafed pieces originating from color management tests and full-scale prints deemed unsuitable for portfolio editions continued to be amassed, upholding a tradition established at the outset of the project that held everything subject to repeated and unrelenting investigation. 

  

So, what should be made of all these exercises? The undertaking of a quixotic quest to try and articulate a ‘story of everything’ can’t necessarily be measured along strictly lineal guidelines. Harboring the very notion of ‘progression’ becomes a distraction, an illusion that disrupts the capacity to remain open to the essence of the mission. There might sometimes be the compunction to voice commentary at each stride, and at other times many steps might be taken in silence. A path could be taken that wanders off in a new direction, maybe eventually winding back to familiar ground. Steps already taken may perhaps be retraced, though possibly considered from a different perspective. We are thrust into an incessant narrative already underway, one that threads a Möbius course through the psyche posing questions that beg still more questions. The story, having no discernible beginning or end, resists any telling and leaves us only the option to keep asking. 


Additional Comments on the Presentation of the Plates: 

The hearth of our From Zero to Infinity collaboration has continued to stay alight for more than twelve years, with no indication that it is on the verge of growing cold. We have, after all, in Everything an endless amount of fuel at our disposal...so long as imagination keeps stoking the fire. It was only fitting that when the time came to decide how the yields thus far fashioned from this furnace could best be introduced, we were challenged with having to sort through a broad range of equally confounding options, none of which appeared to be entirely satisfactory. 


This is at it should be; the universe will always manage to exact a balance between prospect and realization. In the end, we chose to abide by a partiality to present related individual suites, sequencing the works within each so as to hopefully satisfy the impish visual logic dictated by the format of the bound volume. This strategy seemed more natural than holding fast to the structure of rigidly defined chronological truth or trying to bring some semblance of order to the outrageous twists and turns of conceptual urge. 


The plates open with the presentation of the portfolio collections completed to date, the foundation of our joint project, and progress through the singular extramural editioned pieces—Biosphere and Common Ground, discussed above—to several unique panoramic murals, and continue on to a few examples selected from numerous unique leafed works that were derived from the portfolio efforts. These foregoing suites comprise the more sweeping ‘macrocosmic’ tilt that continues to inform the From Zero to Infinity endeavor. The plates close with the Gilded Cells suite, our inaugural plunge into an evolving focus on the ‘microcosmic’ phase of Everything. 


The universe would insist on this sort of balance. 

Biosphere, 2002

Biosphere, 2002