THE COSMIC SUBLIME

Hubble satellite image - Eagle Nebula
The Cosmic Sublime provides a perspective on how the human mind confronts and conceptualizes the grandeur of the cosmos and the natural world.

Hubble Eagle Nebula.jpg

THE COSMIC SUBLIME in the aesthetics of Longinus and Zhuangzi.

This essay features a comparative study of the aesthetics represented by the Greco-Roman critic Longinus and the Chinese Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi through what I would call the cosmic sublime. Both Longinus and Zhuangzi, I propose, articulate an aesthetic ideal of the cosmic sublime, by which I mean the grandeur captured by a cosmic perspective or obtained from contemplating phenomena of a planetary scale, as well as the emotions associated with experience of the sublime. And both seek to theorize the sublime by positing the great-small and subject-object distinction. While concurring to the importance of great natures in producing and appreciating sublime images, the two thinkers diverge with regard to the relation of the subject and object of aesthetic judgment. Where Longinus presages Kant in emphasizing the preeminence of the judging mind in comprehending cosmic phenomena, Zhuangzi asserts the merging of the aesthetic subject with the primal simplicity, a claim that anticipates Hölderlin and Nietzsche’s call to identify with the Dionysian One. As an aesthetic category, the cosmic sublime provides a vantage point from which to view how the human mind confronts and conceptualizes grandeur of an infinite dimension. As a comparative lens, the cosmic sublime helps reveal not only a new aesthetic ideal but also a distinctive Chinese aesthetics analogous to the Western sublime tradition.
Article by Mingjun Lu https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11059-017-0409-6

PSYCHEDELIC CREATURES, NUDIBRANCHS

Many of the color ideas I have for paintings are inspired by the otherworldly neon creatures of the sea such as nudibranchs. Nature can be garish and psychedelic.

If you think hummingbirds and butterflies are beautiful, then prepare to be amazed at the underwater fashion show of nudibranchs. They are tiny jewels decorating the ocean in every part of the world. Nudibranchs are gastropod mollusks that can be found from shallow reefs to deep seas, from the tropics to Antarctica. The variety of species is staggering, as are the colors and shapes of these tiny, soft-bodied beauties. 

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Kubaryana from Indonesia - showing orange mouth parts and sensory rhinophores, and green gills. High magnification photo by Lembeh Strait.

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Kubaryana from Indonesia - showing orange mouth parts and sensory rhinophores, and green gills. High magnification photo by Lembeh Strait.

Nudibranch - Nembrotha chamberlaini (Actual color).

Nudibranch - Nembrotha chamberlaini (Actual color).

FLUX 8, FROZEN MOVEMENT IN PROCESS

Flux 8 / ink on paper on panel / 26” x 40”

I see my paintings as an experiment where I invent imagined substances, environments or living forms. I envision a space or body that is organic and otherworldly, expressing its laws of physics. Fungi and invertebrate marine life inspire the imagery, as do geologic processes like branching and lava flow. Through physical gesture and the fluidity of the ink, I aim to create a frozen moment in the process of becoming.

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Detail - Flux 8

Detail - Flux 8

THE MOTH SNOWSTORM

Reading work by environmentalist and naturalist like Michael McCarthy feeds and inspires my painting practice. I Just finished McCarthy’s book “The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy”. The Moth Snowstorm is a one-of-a-kind environmental work that combines memoir, anecdotes, and hard facts to make a case for preserving an ever-dwindling natural world.

Inspiring quotes from “The Moth Snowstorm”

The natural world can bring us peace; that the natural world can give us joy: these are the confirmations of what many people may instinctively feel but have not been able to articulate; that nature is not an extra, a luxury, but on the contrary is indispensable, part of our essence. And now that knowledge needs to be brought to nature’s defense.”

“The sudden passionate happiness which the natural world can occasionally trigger in us,” Michael McCarthy writes, “may well be the most serious business of all.” He is a naturalist and journalist, and this is his delightful and galvanizing call — that we can stop relying on the immobilizing language of statistics and take up our joy in the natural world as our civilizational defense of it. With a perspective equally infused by science, reportage, and poetry, he reminds us that the natural world is where we evolved, where we found our metaphors and similes, and it is the resting place for our psyches.”

- Michael McCarthy, environmentalist

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NATURAL ELEMENTS INSPIRE

Thinking about how the natural elements engage our senses ..... fluid, airy, molten, solid, bubbling.

Recent painting, "Fluere 27" ink painting collage on panel, 20” x 20"

Fluere 27 , ink collage on panel, 20” x 20”

Fluere 27, ink collage on panel, 20” x 20”

Inspired by … Ocean tides. Photo by Micha Pawlitzki.

Inspired by … Ocean tides. Photo by Micha Pawlitzki.

Inspired by …Lava flow ( Kilauea Volcano, Hawai). Photo by CJ Kale and Nick Selway. flow

Inspired by …Lava flow ( Kilauea Volcano, Hawai). Photo by CJ Kale and Nick Selway. flow

FEATURED in 10011 ART MAGAZINE

Stack‘s hyper-color ink collages are featured in 10011 Arts Magazine vol. 04 along with an interview. Emerging Artist Magazine published by Claudia Eng Gallery – Chelsea, Manhattan, NY.

Fluere  series, ink painting collages

Fluere series, ink painting collages

Fluere  series, ink painting collages

Fluere series, ink painting collages

EXHIBITION, “Pulchra Scientia” at Perlman Museum, Carleton College

Laura Stack, is showing her expansive large-scale ink collages in Pulchra Scientia: The Aesthetics of Discovery, a national juried group exhibit at Carleton College’s Perlman Teaching Museum.

Exhibition Dates: September 14, 2018 – January 20, 2019

Pulchra Scientia presents works by contemporary artists that communicate current scientific developments. This exhibition engages the mind while exploring the ways science invokes art in all forms to describe complex concepts while reminding us that science is beautiful (pulchra scientia).

Flux 11 , Ink painting collage (installed on wall), 60" x 110"

Flux 11, Ink painting collage (installed on wall), 60" x 110"

Pulchra Scientia  exhibition at Carleton College’s Perlman Teaching Museum

Pulchra Scientia exhibition at Carleton College’s Perlman Teaching Museum

Detail -  Flux 11

Detail - Flux 11