Portland State University. Department of Art
Susan J. Harlan
Term of Graduation
Date of Publication
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Painting
Geometrical drawing, Sculpture, Modern -- 20th century
1 online resource (23 pages)
My graduate work, culminating in Spira Mirabilis, my final thesis project, has been about a search for simplicity. What I have discovered along the way is complexity. In searching for a fundamental principle that generates a complex form, I discovered an apparently simple form that is, rather, a consequence of complex relationships. By creating a work that is grounded on a fundamental, universal principle, I hoped to evoke a subliminal or other-than-conscious response that would effect a transformation in the viewer. Ultimately, I found my own transformation through the creative process, and acquired a new viewpoint through a minimal expression of form.
My thesis exhibition, Spira Mirabilis, (installed at the Autzen Gallery, Portland State University, May 13-29, 1998) comprises fifty ropes, some black and some white, stretching vertically from the ceiling and fixed at the floor. The sequence of ropes reiterate a figure, formed by lines drawn on the floor, that is modeled after natural growth phenomena. Three spiral lines, one curving clockwise and two counterclockwise, emanate from a single point in the center of the room and intersect at two points related to body centers. Six knots in the ropes, three black and three white, denote those points of a vertical progression that both corresponds to human proportion and visually explains how the two progressions (black and white) are physically and conceptually interrelated.
There is a tranquillity about Spira Mirabilis, a contemplative peace. The figure does not set up a barrier, nor does it coerce motion. It is rather like a permeable membrane. The rhythm of lines and curves guides one around and through, without enclosing the space. Spira Mirabilis exists in the moment, and allows us to embrace that moment.
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Ray, Kim D., "Spira Mirabilis" (1998). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6383.