A painting of the Gemini constellation in the night sky, the twins Pollux and Castor.
I’m interested in exploring the way order is imposed on an otherwise vast continuity – in this case the chaos of the night sky becomes coherent with representations capable of repeated recognition in the constellations. Stars become unique and brought into a relation with other stars selectively. It’s interesting to me that the constellations are only one of a seemingly infinite combination of relations between the stars, and yet, once they are mapped and recorded they each become capable of a narrative.
The coherence of the constellations is an illusion that occurs when the vast continuity of the sky is filtered through human consciousness from earth’s vantage point. In thinking about ways to use the grid artistically, the constellations seem to lend themselves as both a revealing theoretical point, as well as a vision of something that can be beautiful. There are two great themes contained in this idea: light vs. dark and chaos vs order.
This painting was my first attempt, I’m going to go through many more constellations, maybe combine some on larger canvases. Pollux and Castor seemed an appropriate place to begin, with the multiplied identity of the twins.
I suppose these paintings are made from the perspective of order, or from the perspective of consciousness – I think what becomes just as important is all that is left out – the unfurling chaos that does not make its way into the repeatable form of the constellation. The constellation is all the grid can see.
The constellations illuminate the human history of creating narratives on earth.
Michael Burris Johnson, 2014