Up Out of the Mud and Into The HeavenS
BALANCING TWO THINGS AT ONCE ON THE TOP OF A ZEEPEE
The concept of combining two separate forms into one synergistic image was first impressed upon me by the photographic darkroom work of photomontage artist Jerry Uelsmann at the University of Florida. He was mapping imagery onto unfamiliar surfaces like rocks and water and trees. Around the same time, I also became aware of and seduced by the paranoiac critical method of one thing transmuting into another that was utilized by Salvador Dali to create his surreal masterpieces. As I explored the relationship between the picture plane and the sculptured z-axis provided by the curled up metal pieces, I was struck by how the eye could travel up and down the curves created by these unfurling components from the canvas plane to the tips of the curves. I began to explore other types of patterned surfaces that would lend themselves to building a surface morphology upon the picture plane and built a crystalline surface with paper and precise cuts and folds used in origami.
With my Materials Science background providing insight into crystallography, tessellations, surface morphology, and molecular structure, it was a natural progression to satisfy my artistic curiosity by making these complex forms protrude from the canvas plane. I built a 24” x 36” paper model composed of randomly chosen crystalline shapes of differing angles, sizes, and numbers of facets. This 3D morphology completely covered the flat 24”x36” picture plane. My original intention was to paint on the surfaces of the 3D model to create the vision I had in mind, however this proved problematic due to the type of materials I had used in its construction. Instead I used the paper model as a reference point to map its crystalline forms onto another canvas by sketching out its multi-sided geometric facets using lines and shading alone. This provided me with an acceptable solution for combining the crystalline texture with an image, albeit now in a purely “virtual” context. Next, I began searching for an image that would lend itself to being mapped on top of my new “virtual” surface and came upon a rather spirited elephant with ears fanned out and its trunk erect. I thought the ears would fit nicely on top of the facets because of all the contours already present in their organic state. I sketched a large pencil drawing of the elephant that I could use for additional reference.
Sparks Fly in my La Jolla studio
I set up a canvas on my easel, directly to its left I hung the elephant sketch and directly to the right I hung the 3D paper origami model. Top-lighting the model clearly brought out its facets with the light and dark shading dependent upon the angle that the light was striking them. Having these props in place, I began to combine the two different objects into one image and thus Zedism was born. However, it would be another three years before the word Zedism was coined to describe what I was doing.
As time passed and my technique developed, I stopped using the paper 3D model and began creating 3D surface morphologies on the fly. I began experimenting with how these types of surfaces take form in the natural world while also tailoring them to my aesthetic tastes in order to work with my chosen imagery or subject matter.
Zedi Master Works
Joy to Ovum
“This piece is a play on Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. It is a celebration of the fertility and expanding consciousness of the human race. The three pursuing male figures on the left shown in blues are cool, calm, stoic, and emerging from the depths of purple interstellar space. They are collectively protecting and delivering forth a shared strand of DNA shown in oranges and earthtones that span their chests into the center of the piece containing the ovum. The three attractive female figures shown in reds and magentas on the right are warm, nubile, and expressive. They are grounded in Earth’s bounty and are surrounded with the greens of the planet’s primary life-support system, chlorophyll, representing the sun’s stored plant energy. The central imagery is composed of the ovum in various states of life’s creative process. From the first penetration of the male sperm through the ovum’s cell wall, to the unraveling of the winning sperm into DNA, to the explosion of life via genetic replication of atoms, molecules, cells, and the resulting waves of energy that are rippled out into the cosmos during the creation of a human soul or consciousness. It is a diffusion between the animal and spiritual worlds, from the wriggling worm-like sperms desperately racing to spark the creation of a life and the complexity of that monumental achievement, to the resulting shock wave thereafter into the deeper mystery of a microcosmic universe created when life begins. Joy to Ovum is an acknowledgement to the powerful instincts of male/female attraction. It captures the dances and postures we assume in the hopes of attracting a compatible mate to engage in a joyful sowing of our genetic seeds and the cosmic dance at the moment of conception when stellar dust becomes aware of itself. This panel is the centerpiece of a 24-foot triptych celebrating the ultimate creative act of life erupting inside the uterus and out of the womb. A metaphor for the birth of anything: an idea, a species, a star. How the spark of life is initiated and flawlessly combusts into something else grander than itself is one of the great mysteries we constantly face. In this panel, the sperm cell is being delivered to the ovum, where it penetrates the cell wall and starts to unravel into a strand of DNA. The egg then splits, replicates, and sends a molecular shockwave upon the energetic spectrum of life saying, “I am here”. There is a celebration on an atomic level with important chain reactions and electrical currents put in motion. Fertilizing the ovum, the joy of joys, the Joy to Ovum. Sperm giving up their ghosts to manifest consciousness. Do you think they have any idea of what is to come?” 24ft x 4 ft Acrylic Triptych on Wood Panels
Puertecitos is a small town in Baja, Mexico on the Sea of Cortez known for its thermal hot springs. I loved the sharply contrasting colors from the land to the sea. Rusty reds turning into shimmering turquoise set on fire from the relentless sun. The sun’s powers are so enormous and its pull so great that it is drawing the seas into its midst. Both gravity and evaporation feeling the effects of our own mighty star. What would we possibly be without its warmth and stability illuminating us? 24ft x 4 ft Acrylic Triptych on Wood Panels
This was painted live at a Desert Hearts music festival. It snowed and my paints froze up so I had to stop. It depicts a mans brain opened at the top as we look down upon him from an eagles eye perspective. His arms outstretch to welcome the energetic vibrations from the cosmos as his brain emanates out its own signals in a pulsing circular wave form. As if a pebble had been thrown into a pond. 24ft x 4 ft Acrylic Triptych on Wood Panels