Ellen Wiener - Observatory/Orbit

Lenses and tools for navigation have been a part of my visual vocabulary since I titled an exhibition of paintings ‘Rose and Compass Rose’. For me, the dialogue between organic instinctual growth and more intellectually forged ways of finding direction feels like a valid metaphor for the process of painting. My personal interest in the history of the telescope began when I read that to use the reflecting scope at Palomar one had to face AWAY from the world in order to see it.… another marvelous analogy for studio solitude.

As a very amateur sky gazer I have been dazzled by the Hubble images and the advent of the long awaited launch of the James Webb telescope. These spacecraft appear in some of the work shown here.

As for boundaries, the exploration of Mars, (which is now being mapped topographically at a level of detail comparable to Google Earth) and the advent of reusable rockets both promise radical changes in the meaning and edges of concepts like nation, citizen and property.

More than any of these, however, and in complete complicity with every culture I am aware of, it is that vast net for picture-making- that which we happen to call ‘the constellations’ that has enduringly fueled my artwork. I wish to believe that connecting those bright white dots is the origin of drawing. To first construct and then track mythologies across space in order to scoop a bit of order out of the mazy dark, and then to lay a translucent template over it for land-marking on a mortal scale is simply the most brilliant and bizarre idea I ever hope to hear of. And, we risk our lives on it.