sparkling surface overwhelms the conceptual base and so it is with any great
work of art. What is it that we revere - the Bellini or the Madonna, the
Picasso or the profound sorrow of Guernica, the Twombly or the battle,
Lepanto? The phenomenal object, the work of art, although it may have been
born of grand concepts, it is the enduring physicality that provokes awe.
And so it is with a Noestheden.
The initial source of inspiration and configuration is the night sky under
which man has stood marveling for eons. As a subject, astronomy contains the
secrets of the origin of life coupled with the overwhelming concept of
infinite space. The imagination must stretch to encompass the possibility of
life forms, perhaps intelligent ones that go beyond our limited
philosophies. From this great source, John Noestheden brings the imagery
closer by using illustrations and star maps of star systems as his base
material - the night sky interpreted through the knowledge of man. Then he
extracts a small section of the depiction and magnifies it using them as
inflated models of some detail of the universe. He meticulously transcribes
the details, first in pencil and then in ink, paint or crystals and presents
his examination. The result is an abstract wonder, a phenomenally beautiful
object, perhaps as wondrous as the night sky.
John's hand, in service to his conceptual master plan, also raises
admiration for the making of these sparkling drawings or fanatically precise
ink renderings is almost beyond comprehension. Such exactitude! The art of
pasting the tiny crystals onto the paper in rigidly-adhered-to images, (the
crystals had been dispersed by vibration systems, as in the universe) and
the painstaking task that must have been, provokes awe. But the most
incredible aspect of Noestheden's work is the leap that he made from concept
into material and the resulting work of art. If ever that term 'work of art'
can be applied, it is in the presence of a Noestheden silver crystal
Noestheden's work, abstract at first reading, is actually representational.
John captures the wonder of the night sky. It is necessary, like standing
under the canopy of stars, to experience the work first-hand, for as the
viewer moves around, the tiny diamond-like crystals sparkle and bounce off
the retina as if they were receiving an electrical pulse. It is the
phenomenology of binocular vision, a resultant visual illusion as one eye
sees, then the next follows, just as the light from space is often old light
from an extinguished source.
Copyright © 2006, Headbones Gallery, The Drawers