Barbara Noah (American)
I became interested in the cosmos as a child, when a neighbor boy showed me Saturn through his
telescope. The experience provoked a euphoric dream, in which Saturn was large in the night sky,
visible without magnification due to a hole in the universe that functioned as a pinhole camera. Such
influences later propelled me write to NASA to ask to go on a mission as an artist in space. Although
that hope did not materialize, I eventually realized my youthful ambition metaphorically through my
work via surrogate objects launched into the cosmos.
Recent archival pigment prints are influenced by those experiences, magnified by contemporary
cultural and scientific realities regarding stewardship of the earth and its climate. In this context,
metaphoric objects like toys and exuberant balloons holding their breath evoke more than youthful
awe. They are also surrogate émigrés on a hunt for ”home” to ensure the survival of species and
habitats. A search for meaning alternates with a desire to escape from reality through the balm and
comfort of humor. The juxtapositions of unassuming objects and magnificent cosmic contexts are
deadpan and absurd, simultaneously ridiculous and sublime.
These allegorical images are created through an extended process of searching for, editing, and
refining space agency imagery. I incorporate objects into the backgrounds by matching light sources,
color temperature, and reflected light, in order to produce meticulous and visually persuasive
simulated realities. Through this process, I create images that allude to underlying themes of survival,
awe, and aspiration, while peering through alternating telescopic lenses of apprehension and hope.
– Barbara Noah
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.