Mare Crisium: Sea of Crisis
I began the new drawings and paintings for this show in May of 2016 and completed them in February 2017. During these ten months, and outside the safety of my studio, the world went through radical changes that are reflected in my examination of form in darkness and light. As I worked I thought about Truth, Hostility, Love, Freedom, Hope, Dignity, Vulnerability and Strength in addition to the passage of Time and the reassuring but vulnerable repetition of Nature.
In this body of work, my focus is on illuminated objects from the woods where we live. I work from life so my experience is meditative and part of an artistic and scientific tradition of observation. I bought a 3-D printed moon to use in my still life setups. The leaves I often depict symbolize the fragile strength of humanity and of the environment. A few older pieces are in the show as well because they are relevant.
For this series, in which the moon often appears, I was initially inspired by seeing a lunar globe in a scientific supply store at the very end of 2015. On the globe were printed the names of the seas of the moon, or “lunar maria” – Sea of Clouds, Sea of Rains, Sea of Vapors, Sea of Islands, Sea of Nectar, Sea of Tranquility, Ocean of Storms, Sea of Vapours, Sea of Fecundity, Sea of Crisis, Sea that has Become Known… I let those mysterious names guide me as I created this series of images that gave me focus as the world around me dissolved, transformed, and reformed. As we lost civility here on earth the moon and those distant, mysterious “seas” remained constant and dignified. Everyone on earth can see the moon. It is a great unifier.
The name of one “sea,” in particular, resonates with everyone my age. On July 20, 1969, the summer before I started to high school, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Sea of Tranquility during the Apollo 11 mission. Like now, that was a time of social crisis, but the Eagle had landed and man had walked on the moon. Everyone in America watched - we were unified and proud. On that day, we thought the country that did that, could solve any problem.
Renaissance scientist Galileo Galilei, both a scientist and an artist, drew the moon in 1610. Scientist Giovanni Battista Riccioli named the geographical features of the moon we use today. His collaborator, Francesco Maria Grimaldi, also a scientist and artist, assisted in the naming and drew the map of the moon depicted in their work, Almagestum Novum, published in 1651.
Sandy Miller Sasso
February 12, 2017
Sassoville, Almo, KY