Contemplating the climate crisis, longing, hope, adventure, transcendence, joy, our place in the universe, and the hunt for home.
Partially sponsored by Allied Arts Foundation.
This visionary and metaphoric series is inspired by the existential crisis of climate change. Past work reflected on individual mortality. Current work contemplates the survival of whole species and the planet itself. It also continues to explore past themes, including the joy of adventure, achievement through exploration, attempting the impossible, and transcendence via the sheer beauty of magnificent skies. It also focuses on our place in the universe, interchangeable alarm and hope, wishful thinking, and the red herring of hunting for new extraterrestrial replacement homes, when, in fact, there’s no place like home. Dichotomies abound, like the experience of truth versus the escape from reality, as well as the maintenance of emotional resonance in a detached, tech-driven world.
The airborne metaphors in these pieces are objects from childhood, when all things seem magically possible. Hats are thrown into the ring. Balloons are jaunty and playful, but they are also holding their breath, and many represent threatened species, like the Asian elephant and European rabbit. Various types of balls are tossed into the air, including marbles and bowling balls, both of which turn like planets when in play. These orbs are absurd future homes, stand-ins for moons and planets. Some coalesce in clusters as molecules, like H2O, ethanol, and ozone. In a few pieces, Earth is depicted as an emoji in the form of a bowling ball, a panicky face contemplating its own demise.
These hyperreal works are infused with ironic humor. Amusement is not the point, rather it is a conscious characteristic, deadpan and absurd relative to the grandeur of the extraterrestrial contexts, the juxtaposition both ridiculous and sublime. They are visionary surrogate selfies, homages to the splendor and magnificent beauty of distant skies and our place in them, in which we ascend to improbable, transcendent heights, wryly reflective of the humor and pathos of the desire for survival and extraordinary experience.
Image copyrights are on the changes and additions to the original outer space imagery, not on the outer space images themselves, which are courtesy of NASA, the Hubble Space Telescope, and other sources as noted.
For further information about Barbara’s work, see www.barbaranoah.com