Ruler of the southern ocean standing on the shores of chaos, 2006


cinnabar, irgazine, cuttlefish ink, carbon on paper

96 x 52 inches

SERIES: Alchemical Feathers


In the process of making paints and inks I perform many tests. One of these involves pouring the ink across a piece of paper to see how it flows, the rate at which pigments precipitate, and the relative viscosities of binders and other ingredients. I write various observations on these experiments and pin them to a wall for reference. One day I looked at this wall of notes and, to my delight, realized that the poured forms of these tests looked like feathers.I had unwittingly forged a delightful statement regarding the imagination.The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard noted that “the dynamic imagination puts seemingly unrelated objects into the same motion.”  On this wall I had given stones—the motionless denizens of the earth—the agency of weightlessness and flight.The earth, in the form of feathers, was being given back to the sky.


In 2008, I showed this piece in an exhibition titled “Standing on the Shores of Chaos” at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.