Between the Earth and the Firmament, Blast Hole Pond Road, Newfoundland 2020

A series of 10 assemblages.
medium: each assemblage includes 100% cotton vellum paper with charcoal frottage/rubbing, two photographs printed on adhesive-backed polyester photo fabric with hand-written text in pigment ink, and painted pine hanging bars.
dimensions: cotton vellum paper: 88 inches/7 feet 4 inches high x 42 inches wide (224 x 107 cm); image size of photographs: each 22½ inches high x 30 inches wide (57 x 76 cm), plus border with hand-written text, 6 inches high x 30 inches wide (15 x 76 cm); total size of adhesive-backed polyester photo fabric: each 28½ inches high x 30 inches wide (72 x 76 cm).
installed dimensions: 91 inches / 7 feet 7 inches high x 110 inches / 9 feet 2 inches wide (231 x 279 cm).

My artwork is where the inside (my thoughts) and the outside (my surroundings) meet. In the patch of boreal forest where I live and work, both my daily activities and my artistic endeavours are profoundly physical and involve all my senses.

The drawings in these assemblages are not based on visual observation. They are frottages (rubbings) I made around myself while lying on the paper — the merest membrane between myself and the land. Wherever I lie down outside, I’m in what’s known as “the boundary layer” — the thin layer of air between the surface of the ground and the atmosphere. The drawings could be seen as a simple measurement of my humanness in relation to this terrain.

The photographs represent the visual dimensions of what was beneath me — such as the vegetation or the snow — and what I saw overhead while lying in place.

The hand-written texts in each work are from my field notes. They refer to some of the phenomena that were present. But most of what exists is imperceptible to the human eye: under the vegetation that I’m lying on are countless microscopic organisms as well as enormous geological formations; and overhead, beyond the tree canopy, there is even more matter in the immensity of the celestial sphere.

Everything in the cosmos and everything on Earth — every leaf, every stone, every drop of water, and every creature — is the result of the 14-billion-year history of the constantly changing universe, from which we’re borrowing the atoms in our sensing bodies.

Marlene Creates, 2020