The Topography of Tears is a study of tears photographed through an optical microscope, which culminated in a book of duotones published by Bellevue Literary Press in 2017.
Statement by Rose-Lynn Fisher
I embarked on this project in 2008, during a pivotal period of loss, sorrow, and change. On a day of endless tears, I suddenly wondered, what are tears? What do tears really look like? Are tears of grief different than tears of happiness? As a child I had seen an exhibition that showed microscopic views of all the things teeming in a single drop of pond water. Now I wondered what might be seen in a single tear.
So began this series of photomicrographs comprising a wide range of my own and others’ tears, from elation to onions, as well as laughter, remorse, rejection, overwhelm, compassion, reverence, grief gratitude, birth and rebirth, and many more, each a tiny history.
The random compositions I find in magnified tears often evoke a sense of place, like aerial views of emotional terrain. Though the empirical nature of tears is a composition of water, proteins, minerals, hormones, antibodies and enzymes, the topography of tears is a momentary landscape, transient as the fingerprint of someone in a dream. The accumulation of these images is like an ephemeral atlas.
Roaming microscopic vistas, I am struck by the visual similarities between the vast and tiny worlds within worlds of life all around us, and inside of us. The patterning of nature seems so consistent, regardless of scale. Patterns of erosion etched into earth over millions of years can resemble the branched or crystalline forms in an evaporated tear that took less than a minute to occur.
Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Tears spontaneously release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis, intractable resistance short-circuited. Shedding tears, shedding old skin. It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.
BEE is a series of 60 images, exploring the anatomical form and function of a honeybee at high magnification viewed through a scanning electron microscope (SEM).
I'm interested in viewing things close-up, finding the art in science, developing ever deeper appreciation of the worlds within worlds comprising our reality. My work includes explorations of biological, cultural, and metaphorical thresholds, including microscopic views of tears, bees, my own bones; aerial images with a microscopic sensibility, and other portfolios that include the liminal spaces of Morocco, emotional spaces of abandoned couches in LA, ongoing studies of the ocean.
Microscopy includes use of optical microscope for Tears, and scanning electron microscope (SEM) for the bees
For complete & up to date info and links to press, please visit website: rose-lynnfisher.com
Based in Los Angeles, represented by Craig Krull Gallery. BFA from Otis Art Institute, 1978
The Topography of Tears, published by Bellevue Literary Press, NY 2017
BEE, published by Princeton Architectural Press, NY, 2010, 2012
Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles - anthology, Metropolis Books, 2015
Selected exhibitions in 2012-2017:
Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica - The Topography of Tears Sloan Projects, Santa Monica - Body of Research
MassArt, Boston - Encircling the World: Contemporary Art, Science, and the Sublime
Palais de Tokyo, Paris - Le Bord Des Mondes (Topography of Tears)
Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, NY - Beyond Earth Art
Museum of Science, Boston - The Honeybee: Revealed
Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA - YONDER
Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach - UNNATURAL (a group exhibition)
PondyPhoto 2016, Pondicherry, India
State Festival 2016, Berlin
Asia Now, Paris-Asian Art Fair (Women's Independence - 2016)
Art in the City, Shanghai, (Women's Independence - 2016)
Photopolis 2014: Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA
Mt Rokku Intl Photography, 2013, 2014 Festival, Kobe, Japan
Articles/reviews and other press links (online and/or print) include B+W Photography (UK), The New Yorker, Smithsonian, Wired, Harper's, Polka, Zeit Wissen, Time LightBox, Brain Pickings, others.
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