Barbara Noah Toss and Turn explores the joy of adventure, achieving the improbable, and the sense of transcendence induced by the sheer beauty of magnificent skies. It imagines the launch of metaphoric objects into rotations and orbits, contemplating both past and future while looking out from and back at the earth. It is inspired by a long-term fascination with the cosmos and our place in it, but also alludes to the fitful sleep and wishful thinking surrounding climate change. Although there’s no place like home, we seem to be on a hunt for extraterrestrial sanctuary. Dichotomies abound, like the intimate and infinite, truth and fallacy, and emotional resonance in a detached, tech-driven world.
The airborne metaphors, surrogates for the viewer, are launched or floating in space. They are objects from childhood, when all things seem magically possible. Hats are thrown into the ring. Balloons are exuberant and playful but are also holding their breath, some representing threatened species, like the Asian elephant or African wild dog. Various balls are tossed into orbit, including marbles and bowling balls. They are absurd future homes, paradoxical stand-ins for moons and planets. Some of these orbs coalesce into clusters as molecules, like H2O, ethanol, and ozone, while Earth is intermittently depicted as an emoji in the form of a bowling ball, an astonished face contemplating its own future.
These satirical hyperreal and iconic works are infused with ironic humor as a lure and coping mechanism, deadpan and absurd relative to the grandeur of the extraterrestrial contexts, the juxtaposition both ridiculous and sublime. They are visionary parodies and surrogate selfies, homages to the splendor and magnificent beauty of distant skies and our speculative place in them, in which we ascend to improbable, transcendent heights, wryly reflective of the humor and pathos of both ordinary 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.