SARAH L. SEARS
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895—1946)
Untitled (Positive), c. 1922-24
My print, Hemispheres, is loosely based on a black and white abstract photogram by Moholy-Nagy. (A photogram involves light-sensitive paper with certain areas either blocked or exposed, and has no need for a camera.) Mohly-Nagy’s image is of a large, ducky, rounded shape with light-colored rectangles floating above it. You could be looking at shadows cast by some strange, fanciful machine. The piece feels at once mechanical and organic.
Recently I have been making prints about the brain, and have struggled to construct imagery that incorporates the brain’s rich form and texture while exploring its symbolic elements. When I saw this photogram, I realized that my initial efforts had been too literal. The rounded shape in Moholy-Nagy’s piece looked very brain-like, and gave me a new way to present the brain in my work.
I decided to adopt a similar composition for my SILVER print. I chose a copper plate that was already etched here and there with finger-prints and open-biting. This accidental composition was quite pleasing and fit the intended mood of my piece. I hoped to express a sense of wonder and mystery at the brain’s inner workings, and a reverence for the beauty with which this organ is fitted.