For the second entry in our new Curator’s Selection video series (check out the first one here), form & concept gallery director Frank Rose discussed an artwork by Matthew Mullins from the group exhibition Inner Orbit. Matt’s mixed-media painting The Sun Is In Our Bones is an anchor of the show, which explores personal and cultural visions of outer space, and it’s also an introduction to his next body of work. In late September, he’ll debut a solo exhibition called The Sun In Our Bones that will span our ground floor. Learn more about the painting in the video above, then click over to the exhibition page to discover how it connects with the themes of the forthcoming show.
Here is Matt’s meditation on his painting The Sun Is In Our Bones:
The Sun Is In Our Bones is a meditation on the cosmic origins of the elements that comprise our bodies. The elements in our bodies such as carbon, calcium and iron were forged by the extreme forces that exist inside stars, supernovae and other cosmic events. It’s fascinating to think about the journey our bodies’ atomic ingredients have had, and that all of those individual atoms are now working together to form you and me. These elements that have existed for eons are engaged in a mysterious dance that allows us to maintain our complicated biological processes and even consciousness, empathy and love.
The black paint in this piece is made from burnt cow bones. The atoms of calcium and phosphorus from those bones, just like in our bones, were created in the stars. So, the material used in this painting was actually created in space and once provided life to other beings. The title The Sun In Our Bones is not only poetic, it can be taken somewhat literally. The bare linen that the stars seem to be growing into represents yet-to-be-created space. The handprints on the sides are traced from my hands and my wife’s hands, and represent the evolution of human consciousness from the elemental, raw ingredients created inside the stars.
Crystalline and Constellate are meditations on the subatomic world within our bodies. These paintings are nearly photo-realistic depictions of a matrix of atoms being lit up with a laser beam. The source photos that I painted from were taken with an electron microscope. I am awestruck by the intelligent orderliness, but also the mysterious fluidity, of the world experienced at this scale. Our own bodies look similar when viewed from a small enough vantage point.
Click here to browse the complete Inner Orbit exhibition on our website. The show appears in conjunction with Santa Fe Futurition, the Currents New Media Festival, and the Santa Fe Institute’s Interplanetary Festival.