At their heart, my investigations involve the nature of consciousness, especially the consciousness of and in the body. Through the unique circumstances of my life, I’ve gotten to know and feel my body from the inside out, and tune in to its proprioceptive, inner body sensors and signals.
As my knowledge of anatomy grows, my drawings become looser – still tied to anatomical reality but less defined, more open, with a different balance of real and imagined, and a different relationship to the floating colors. I still draw from my 3D scan images and from bones or a cadaver dissection, with anatomy books and images of nerves and nerve plexuses spread out all around me – but now it’s a question of letting the references soak in … letting a sense of their reality filter into me and inform the lines my hand makes with the pencil or charcoal.
I thought I could be in closer touch with what was going on within if I drew the nerves at their tiniest endpoints, at the very places where the feeling was being felt, or the movement initiated. I imagined at that scale they might look like my hair: thick, tangled, and curling every which way … or like my favorite trees, their branches turning to reach the sun.
At this level of scale, the floating colors most closely echo the forms of nature – the same forms found in the human body – and I see neural networks reflected in their crystalline webs. As I venture deeper into inner space, I imagine electric impulses flickering across synapses, following pathways from axon to dendrite. When I reach the limits of what can be seen with the naked eye, I layer the floating colors with images of neurons from NYU’s Virtual Microscope.
To give context to my close-up images of nerves and neural networks, I return to the figure. I want the focus to be on the dynamics of twisting, the flow of energy, the pressure of gravity. As I draw my back in the embrace of a lover’s arms, I remember the feeling in my body, the compelling thrill of his skin touching mine, the comfort of his hands on my ribcage. I visualize my skeleton below the surface of my skin, and imagine the signals flowing through my spinal nerves, back and forth between brain and body
Consciousness of the body gallery
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