Art + Science: Lost Ground : Linda Alterwitz
This week, our Art + Science Editor, Linda Alterwitz, shares the work of photographers making work about the phenomenon of Nature and Nurture, where nature is a force for healing and renewal, but also a force that needs care and consideration. Linda states: It has been medically proven that when immersed within nature, one’s anger, fear and stress tends to melt away – nature heals. Even placing a plant indoors can bring one closer to nature. For me, being in the mountains, desert and near the ocean, I can find my personal place of sanctuary. Yet, Mother Nature doesn’t just give and give. She, too, requires nurture. This week in Art + Science, I am featuring work that explores the symbiotic relationship that we have with our natural environment, from connections and personal healing to the challenges we face regarding the health of our planet.
Linda’s project, Lost Ground, also explores this subject. Lost Ground is part of a trilogy, Envisioning the Veil, begun in 2017 that explores disturbances and discordance in human relationships and how people relate to the natural environment. The first two series, Lost Ground and Home, has been to explore and stimulate a dialogue regarding human thoughts, behaviors and decisions – and the consequences they can have on both our intimate human relationships and our relationship with the environment around us. The concluding series, Self, Without Interpretation, will manifest the potential for intervention, restoration and renewal.
The images beautifully speak to our environmental crisis as fragile and otherworldly objects, marrying human emotion and the natural world. Lost Ground combines gauze veils that hold the EEG test data of distressed brains with photographs of places of personal significance to create a physical manifestation of our relationship to our planet.
from the trilogy Envisioning the Veil
The constructed photographs within the series Lost Ground, (2017-19) respond to our planet’s current man-made environmental crises by investigating the human psyche and its parallel to changes now being revealed in our environment. The work addresses the many environmental changes happening now, particularly those that are man-made and caused beyond reason including climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, air and water pollution, and the draining of our natural resources.
I begin the creative process by photographing and printing places within the natural environment that I consider my personal sanctuary. To provide a representation of human thoughts and emotions, I utilized data output from electroencephalogram (EEG) testing used to analyze electrical activity of the human brain. The data was derived from file records of EEG testing of distressed brains as a visualization of the inconsistencies and aberrations of human thoughts and emotions. The EEG test data was printed directly onto cotton gauze material of the kind used to cover wounds. The gauze “veils” were hand sewn onto archival pigment prints utilizing surgical thread made from nylon monofilament, partially or completely covering the images beneath.
This unique combination of materials echo human emotional responses of pain, healing, vulnerability and protection, reflecting common grounds shared with the health of our planet and society. Ultimately, this work was created to help connect and reinforces the symbiotic relationships that exist within the natural environment, society and the individual.
Each work is constructed by the artist with elements that are created and hand applied with a slight variance. Each piece is signed by the artist en verso.
Linda Alterwitz, (b. 1960) is a visual artist utilizing photography, collage, and interactive strategies. Explorations in the explicit ambiguity of feeling both fear/dread and comfort/refuge continues to be a central theme of inquiry. Her projects focus on the unseen rhythms of the human body and our relationship to the natural world.
A twelve-year exploration within the fields of science and technology informed her creative practice and led her toward an in-depth investigation of the nexus between nature, society, and the individual.
Her current work integrates the authenticity of science and the communicative power of art, sparking dialogue on the intended and unintended consequences of humankind when we separate ourselves from our environment.
Final works take the form of large format photographs, constructed images using non-traditional materials and woven tapestries presented in both traditional exhibition and immersive public installation experiences.
Alterwitz received her BFA from CU Boulder and her MFA from Denver University. She currently resides in Las Vegas, NV.
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