OCEAN IN A MICROSCOPE
I’ve been looking at structure and abstraction through microscopic views of tears and ocean drops, bees, and my own body - each investigation pays homage to the endless and the singular. Throughout the pandemic, my experience of isolation draws me to realms where I can tune into life in its myriad interconnectivity, its mutations of beauty and demise, in varying levels of scale and consciousness. Here, a sense of scale or sense of place is elusive, like a massive pyramid in a drop of ocean water magnified 400x, or a tear that evokes an aerial view of emotional terrain. I’m especially intrigued by each layer of visual information that’s revealed through even the slightest adjustments of focus – a way of keeping in mind what remains unseen and unknowable.
The waves return and return, and I returned to them again and again, to realign with the pulse of the sea. It's where I go for the shimmering light on water and the inclusivity of fog, for reunion of soul and mystery, and the continuity of endless variation. During the period of outer life in lockdown, I was drawn to the the inner life and architectural particles of the sea.
I began to save a sample of water each visit, at high tide, low tide, full moon, dolphin days. I have a vintage Zeiss from the late 1970s with knobs and levers; a standard light, optical microscope with a digital camera that allows me to explore these realms via an interface with my computer and monitor. At 100x or 400x magnification, a tiny particle in the water evokes an unknowable sense of scale.
Here are cubes or pyramids that could be massive and ancient at another scale. Designs appear etched into surfaces suddenly appear, like a secret encoding revealed, just by the slightest adjustment in focus. What appears to have heft and edge despite its actual scale, seems to melt away, its depth of field as shallow as the tide receding. The seen and unseen are interchangeable and echo my sense of time and matter throughout the pandemic, a feeling of being on an endless path nowhere but inward. Looking from this perspective feels apt in a time when edges can become immaterial, when certainty has seemed to be only one possibility.
©Rose-Lynn Fisher 2020-21
Santa Monica, California