Prudence Gill, former curator of the Hopkins Hall Galleries at The Ohio State University and brilliant artist in her own right, just concluded a show at the Biscayne Nature Center on Key Biscayne, Florida.
Larger-than-life scale ceramic interpretations of familiar found objects among the Keys and coastal waterways demand attention and new consideration as fossil remnants.
Of course, with climate change threatening the already-stressed ecosystems of the Florida Keys, these elements seem to auger a natural history retrospective of a long-gone epoch, reminders that such rapid change makes each present moment recede so much faster. Certainly, the harried pace of the (post)modern world that threatens these places no doubt also make Gill's childhood memories of the area seem so much older than they could be. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.
Every texture and feature is magnified in Gill's treatment of mundane beach items: an urchin, a piece of coral, small shells. Such amplification of scale is only possible by an abundance of information drawn from close observation by younger eyes and small, nimble fingers.
Conversely, native wood re-emerges carved into a boat form, bearing a miniaturized cypress swamp.
Gill's deeply personal study and treatment of the familiar objects of the Florida Keys becomes a spiritual recollection in "Ghosting Nature."
These aren't any beaches or an archetypal swamp nor is her work cold cartography; Gill renders impressions of her childhood habitat from a soul connection with particular places. Small gestures reveal a scale of intimate connection with an expansive location. It is easy to see the artist as an innocent and exploring child in these installations as these impressions are rendered with the joy of first experience. We get to see the beauty of life by the water without the cynicism or prejudice of our own experiences, but as a child.
In 1938, Theodore van Fossen, at 19 years old, received a commission for the design of a new home from Robert (Bob) and Mary Gunning for their property east of Columbus in what is now Reynoldsburg.
The site, a wooded ravine, would provide an opportunity to make manifest what he had learned in his independent studies and the more formal curricula at the New Bauhaus in Chicago. Immediately, van Fossen contacted his friend, Tony Smith, to collaborate on the project.
Subsequent additions enlarged the home, including the 1963 Tower designed by van Fossen and constructed by Rush Creek Village builder Richard Wakefield.
Today's article in the Columbus Dispatch discusses the recent purchase of the Gunning House property, named "Glenbrow" by van Fossen, and its renovation, now in progress.
Fortunately for its new owners and for posterity, Bob Gunning was a talented photographer who documented his beautiful home as it grew over the years, beginning with these images in 1940.
A brief video of the brilliant Pepinsky Guest House installation by Jeff Haase and Kyle Wallace at the McConnell Arts Center in Worthington, Ohio, taken with an iPad the day after the opening, demonstrates a parallax effect in the interior as the viewer attempts to reconcile the fractured surface information against the changes in the relative depth of surfaces.
ScienceDaily.com reported earlier this year that recent research at the National Institute of Material Sciences in Japan, replicated at MIT, corroborates the Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch OR) Theory of consciousness:
"A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness published in Physics of Life Reviews claims that consciousness derives from deeper level, finer scale activities inside brain neurons. The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in "microtubules" inside brain neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors Stuart Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves) also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations, and that from a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions."
The Theory has not been without its detractors, though.
"Orch OR was harshly criticized from its inception, as the brain was considered too "warm, wet, and noisy" for seemingly delicate quantum processes. However, evidence has now shown warm quantum coherence in plant photosynthesis, bird brain navigation, our sense of smell, and brain microtubules. The recent discovery of warm temperature quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons by the research group led by Anirban Bandyopadhyay, PhD, at the National Institute of Material Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan (and now at MIT), corroborates the pair's theory and suggests that EEG rhythms also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations."
The Orch OR Theory provides the foundation for the Quantum Neurodynamic Model for the Biophilic Effect I've advanced in Chapter 3 of Local Non-Locality: Sixty Years at Rush Creek Village. Quantum consciousness, as developed by Hammeroff and Penrose, and the concept of super-radiance within microtubules (developed by Hammeroff and Mari Jibu) is the only theory that satisfactorily explains the collection of physiological responses to the natural environment known as the Biophilic Effect that includes lower heart rate, improved mental focus, and elevated mood.
Until now, no structural model has been advanced for explaining this set of physical effects. The established academic writers on Biophilia, design, and the "human-nature connection" have been happy citing study after study (e.g.--Ulrich, 1986) and discussing the "symbolic experience of nature...through representation, allusion, and metaphorical expression." (Kellert, 2005, p 150) And while these are sufficient, I suppose, for casual conversations, they don't offer any explanation for the observations documented in these studies. This just wasn't sufficient for me, in researching my book. Something has been happening to the residents at Rush Creek Village for decades now; they've derived wellness benefits as a result of occupying their homes which facilitate a robust relationship with the natural environment (E.O. Wilson's term Biophilia). In my mind, these substantive effects deserved more than a casual mention of the human-nature connection.
Money quote: “As I like to say,” Haase said, “we Instagrammed a house.”
The photograph of the Pepinsky Guest House is odd and doesn't communicate the space well at all. The documentation effort lacked the proper expertise and/or lens and underscores the talent featured in the book. Again, the work of photographers Tom Hogan and Brent Turner is simply remarkable. Their contributions to the book are as important as anything written.
Rush Creek homes are not designed for "curb appeal" or easily photographed facades.
Martha Wakefield once told the story of the time Better Homes & Gardens arrived to photograph Rush Creek Village. Early in the process of scouting shots, they packed it in, claiming that it was impossible to photograph the houses.
Not impossible, but certainly not easy, either. Like everything else about Rush Creek Village, it requires the ability to accept, and work with, the larger order of things.
"Neighborhood in Harmony with Nature: Rush Creek Village" opened last Thursday evening at the McConnell Arts Center in Worthington, Ohio. Beautiful photography, models, and custom furniture highlight a installation by Ohio State Department of Design Professor Jeff Haase and MFA Student Kyle Wallace: a full-scale model of the Pepinsky Guest House.
In order to make the piece portable (an important feature to permit the show to travel), Jeff struck upon the idea of using his iPhone and fashioning a jig to insure the consistent and proper range from the surfaces so that photos he took would print out at full scale. In all, he took thousands of photos of every surface of the structure, and then adhered them to the model with wheat paste. The effect is amazing, like an assembled panoramic, fractured, with a cubist sensibility. Walking into or around the model instantly replicates the experience of the actual building. In short time, however, attention is drawn to and held by the variations in shade/color/perspective of the individual images and the original sensation is suspended. A minute later, as the occupant moves about, the brain blends it all back together again and the sense of occupying the Pepinsky Guest House returns. It's a remarkable effect and a remarkable installation.