Endings, Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York, New York, 2008

Dawn (Left Illinois for California, April 15, 1859), hand-dyed, hand-stitched cotton, 2008

Tracking the fading light of the night's stars against that of the emerging day, I choose historical, individual moments that explore the rift between past and future, sampling events from the American pioneer movement to the first sighting of Sputnik above the United States.

I use a computer program to calculate the actual stars seen at any chosen historic moment, allowing a kind of time traveling that places the viewer at a specific vantage point.

The two juxtaposed elements of light are shown in two layers: scenes at dawn and dusk are painted with dye onto fabric paired against the stitched lines of the stars fading with dawn or emerging with dusk. Here the first light of day-a harbinger of what is to come-is contrasted against the stitching of stars burning out in the sky, a symbol of what is lost. Just as the setting sun appears to close a chapter of time, the evening stars represent a larger cycle continuing.

The works have an aspect ratio of 1.85, the same proportions as classic John Wayne westerns like The Searchers, playing off the cliché of riding into the sunset and questioning the idea of an ending implied in that fading of the day's light.

 

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