microWave project
artist: Gretchen Schermerhorn
2011
Medium: 20 Prints suspended from ceiling in varying depths and heights. Sound activated via sensors.

Statement: My work is created as a response to CP Snow's call for a "third culture" to bridge art and science. Specifically, I create pieces inspired by biological and sociological systems: DNA coding, cell division, often in juxtaposition to imagined map-like symbols depicting interconnected relationships. I see these symbols as diagrams of imagined space involving interaction, entanglement, memory and contemplation.

This particular piece, Call and Response, is a reflection on the idea of how our verbal expressions emerge visually. Inspired by a Kurt Vonnegut quote “A plausible mission of artists is to make people feel alive, at least a little”, I asked forty individuals what makes them feel alive, and recorded their reactions. These responses were imported into sound editing software, then printed as waveforms. Naturally, physical movement is coupled with viewing, as one progresses through the installation moving closer, bending and turning.

Much like my work’s conceptual basis, I find myself drifting quite a bit—largely due to my own inertia. Balancing random and calculated moves, researching the laws of science and art, my work continues to change—allowing viewers to see where I have been, what I saw, and sometimes what was lost.

Many thanks to Elena Djossou and Franc Rosario.

Bio: Gretchen Schermerhorn is a printmaker and hand papermaker, and her work often combines the two media. Her work depicts mapped visual relationships between humans, science, politics and psychology. She is interested in what happens when we engage socially-be it through virtual communication or open discussion- how bonds between us invisibly form a short lived genetic bond. She strives to communicate through diagrams of imagined space involving interaction, entanglement, memory and contemplation.

Ms. Schermerhorn is currently the Artistic Director at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. She received her MFA in Printmaking from Arizona State University in 2004. She has completed artist residencies at Women's Studio Workshop, Columbia College Center for Book and Paper, Seacourt Print Workshop in Northern Ireland, and California State University. Her prints, books and paper works have been exhibited in such places as Northern Ireland, New York, Boston and Washington DC. Her work is in national and international collections.
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