Christine Weir: Qualia
May 20 to June 17, 2017
By MEGAN ABRAHAMS, JUN. 2017
Qualia - In philosophy, the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena.
In a hybrid medium and process she has refined to the utmost degree of detail and precision, Christine Weir creates images that seem to channel Japanese Sumi painting, woodcut, engraving and metal work – a range of traditional disciplines to which her series, Qualia, is unrelated. Using her chosen media, graphite on clay panel, the artist produces black and white compositions in a stunning range of gray gradients and silvery tones, on a surface that becomes almost reflective, burnished as it is with a patina of repeated marks, applied with assiduous care.
These pieces resemble landscapes – or perhaps moonscapes, or even dreamscapes envisioned from some extra-terrestrial vantage point – as if viewed from a remote region of space through a distorted lens. In fact, the artist refers to Google Earth satellite views for inspiration, taking special notice of features that represent flowing water, which to her, suggest feelings or emotions. The book Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick made a significant impression on Weir and her view of how scientific theory on chaos, fractals, fluid dynamics and other phenomena can be portals through which we may better understand our personal experiences. Weir’s imagery is driven by the subjective way in which we process and grow to understand the world around us: thus the thematic title, Qualia.
In viewing this work, what the eye may interpret as something suggestive of landscape, is actually intended to symbolize the emotional territory of contemporary life. Dominating the background of each piece is a spherical form, looming like the sun, a planet or moon in the distance. These gracefully rendered orbs are defined by seemingly infinite delicate marks radiating in intensity from light in the center to darker towards the circumference.
Superimposed across the spherical shapes are entwined ribbon-like forms that seem to grow – or flow – organically across the foreground like the imagined breath of a dragon in an illustration from a childhood story. As if echoing the boundless nature of emotions, the works are composed of a surprisingly vast range of textures and values, light to dark, given the constraints of a medium confined to black and white. Within them is a powerful sense of space, infinity, mystery and forces unknown. Titles – such as, From Truth’s Sad Ashes Pain and Falsehood Grow, The Penitent, The Painful Eagerness of Unfed Hope – which are engraved in elegant tiny lettering on the corner of each piece, seem evocative of myths. While the imagery may be purely abstract, it convincingly suggests a compelling internal personal narrative drawn from the inner workings of the artist’s consciousness, heart and soul. WM
Megan Abrahams is a Los Angeles-based writer and artist. The managing editor of Fabrik Magazine, she is also a contributing art critic for Art Ltd., Fabrik, ArtPulse and Whitehot magazines. Megan attended art school in Canada and France. She is currently writing her first novel and working on a new series of paintings.
view all articles from this author