This work stems from my contemplations on nature and our relationship to the environment. The series consists of cyanotypes made on the oceanfront on the eastern shore of the Atlantic. started in Montauk, NY, at the Andy Warhol Preserve and the Nature Conservancy artist residency during the Fall of 2019 (and continued on Cape Henlopen, DE). Made in collaboration with the landscape by employing sun, ocean water, sediment, and coastal plants, these agents leave a physical inscription through direct contact with the medium. The process creates patterns and textures imprinted on the paper by plunging pre-coated light-sensitive paper into the water, where the salt, sand, and seaweed wash over it. The sunlight colors surfaces in various shades of brilliant blues.
This series employs a wide range of blue hues evocative of light and underwater spaces layered with weather data derived from satellite images, tracing of wind patterns and notation of locations and speed, abstract marks and shapes to create fluid movement. Deep azure and cerulean may first appear subtle and even of low contrast. Still, a moment of intimate viewing allows the colors to saturate the surface with emerging purples, pinks, and ochres that have the power to swell from near-silent serenity to tempests. The array of compositions provide shifting perspectives from torrent skies to ocean horizons reaching sea depths pierced with sunlit water surfaces.
The cyanotype process soaks up light, absorbing a fraction of time. By referencing the sublime, geologic forms, wind, and weather patterns, my work continues to highlight global climate change focusing on the threat of rising seas from melting ice caps. By infusing the paper with the saline ocean water and permeating it with the sunlight, every piece accelerates the current environmental narrative.
The most recent body of work is based on my experience of the Root Glacier located in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska. There, I spent several days walking on the ice surface exploring the hills and crevices of its enormous shape. It was a terrain without a distance where the near and the far folded into each other. Glaciers appear fixed and unchanging, however, they are continuously on the move. I experienced the landscape around me thinking about it’s shifting nature; while I was enveloped by what felt like an incredible stillness, I could sense it wasn’t because of the surrounding sounds of water trickling, gushing, gurgling, dripping, hissing, splashing. I was grounded on the surface of something ancient that is moving, churning ground, melting away. In contrast to the firm glacier occupying the landscape, my body felt short-lived. Yet the rapid melting of glaciers and the intensity of changes taking place in the Arctic is itself a fragile organism on a verge of extinction.
As the ice melts, its ancient memory fades away. Memory is narrow, incomplete. Over time, my recollections slowly subside. In the process of drawing, I acknowledge the fleeting impressions of my experiences. As my memories change over time, the fragmented landscape reflects its continuous depletion due to human-caused global warming. “The world is blue at its edges and in its depths.” The color blue signifies the distance between ‘here’ and ‘there’ connecting to what is continuously lost. I aim for the viewer to experience layered cartographies of our environments melding us across the physical boundaries of our disparate worlds to celebrate and grieve what we are failing to preserve.
The natural environment and our human effects upon it are central concerns of my art. Moving between representation and abstraction, my work focuses on, and then conceptualizes, our landscapes, bringing together aesthetics and ecological concerns.
The Chesapeake Bay has long been a focus of my work and I have used NASA satellite images and weather data to generate patterns, creating layered drawings and installations on the region's changing environment. In my newest work, I turn to one of our most vulnerable landscapes, the glacier fields of Alaska. Retreating glacier ice is one of the most visible signs of climate change and is a marker for the quickly shifting (i.e., degrading) ecologies of Alaska and of the planet.
This project is largely informed by my research into the writings of early American pioneers of geophysics and glaciology, John Muir and Harry F. Reid. Both conducted research in Alaska between 1890 and 1900 that focused on measurements of glacial movement, data that was transformed into poetic writings on the ever-changing nature, and color, of their subject. My drawings present chronology of marks, layers of color and texture that evolved as I worked, a weathering process based on how glacial ice changes as air, light, and water transform it. As Reid noted, “The ice-front has a wonderful coloring. All stages [of transformation] are represented in the ice-front, which therefore shows all shades of blue in striking variety.”
Works on paper, 2016
As one fascinated by the things we cannot see, I seek to observe moments happening in the periphery of our experience: A cloud casting a shadow as it crosses the sun, the ever-changing shoreline where land and water meet, the sensory experience of the wind, and the warmth of a shimmering light touching the skin. This series of drawings are part of an ongoing project inspired by the weather. I record and transform weather data to reflect the effects of climate change with regard to freak winter storms, extreme weather changes, and highly fluctuating temperatures. After using digital manipulation, I laser cut an output of patterns derived from the satellite imagery of NASA of the Chesapeake region. The dates and locations in the titles indicate when the source images were collected.
In the Liminal
This site-specific installation was created at the University of Maryland Gallery as part of an ongoing project based on weather. Since 2015, I have been recording and transforming weather data to reflect the effects of climate change with regard to freak winter storms, extreme weather changes, and highly fluctuating temperatures. After using digital manipulation, I laser cut an output of patterns derived from the satellite imagery of NASA of the Chesapeake region. From there, my process becomes more intuitive as I use the resulting templates for drawing, painting, and making installations.
Curated by Susan Laney of Laney Contemporary (Savannah), Unseen Patterns, was a site-specific installation in a solo show at the Westobou Gallery in Augusta GA. Based on aerial maps of the Savannah River and satellite imagery of weather patterns of the Chesapeake Bay and Georgia region, I incorporated a cumulative data compiled between Feb. 28, 2015, 11:41 am, the Chesapeake Bay to Aug. 24, 2016, 9:03 AM Georgia. With the use of software, I turned this visual data into patterns which were cut into a wide array of shapes and used as templates to paint the layers of information embedded within the shapes to create fluid, open compositions in which suspended felt and Mylar seemed to defy gravity.
The Tempest, Stop-Motion Drawings
Produced by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and Illinois Theater at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Playwright: William Shakespeare Director: Robert G. Anderson Scenic Design (Artist in Residence): Chad Tyler Lighting Design: Joseph Burke Projections Design: Chad Tyler Stop-Motion Art: Jowita Wyszomirska
Stop-Motion Drawings: Jowita Wyszomirska Editing and Digital Animation: Chad Tyler
Jowita's Curated Collection
This artist has not yet created a curated collection.