Hemispheres, Sarah L. Sears

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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.

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