Christine Weir: Qualia at Launch LA
By Kathy Zimmerer
Through June 17th
The deep black of the cosmos echoes in Christine Weir’s mysterious drawings as silvery forms swirl around glowing circles in her “Qualia” series. “Qualia” is a philosophical term referring to a specific feeling of subjective, conscious experience, or as the artist describes, a “personal perception,” like the particular pain of a headache or the taste of wine. Her imagery grew out of her initial fear of flying, when having a job where she traveled all the time. She learned to embrace the window seat on the airplane and became absorbed in the beauty of the sky and topographical features that stretched below her.
Also brought to mind by her moving spheres and shadows is the impending total eclipse of the sun, as dark lines intersect and curve through her compositions. The universe is in all her dark complexity of forms and lines, where planets seem to orbit in an immense and infinite solar system. Drawn in graphite on clay, her medium only adds to the pitch-black forms and the eerie atmosphere, as the black becomes a velvety cloud and the lines delicately delineate textures and shapes.
Rivers of black snake through her drawing Decoherence, as scumbled areas of grey cover the sphere of light. The inherent texture and patterns of the graphite define and bring depth to the clay surface. Nature is reflected in the veined lava flow of black and grey as it intersects the bright light of the circle in Aporetic Crisis.
Fascinated by the images from Google Earth, her drawings not only reflect the uneven and unique topography of the earth but also have an unearthly spiritual vitality as in Their Currents Turn Away, a drawing that is infused with rolling curves of gray, black and white that dominate her concentric circle. Another apocalyptic drawing is Unraveling; where clouds of dust spin out and completely cover her brilliant white planet. Delicate lines trace the imagery that flows without end into space.
While Weir has worked with environmental imagery such as LA water sources and contaminated nuclear landscapes, her drawings are not easy to define; they have a chameleon, ever changing quality that defies categorization. In The Penitent, a deep black jagged slash cuts through her concentric circle but also the lines seem to grow directly out of this source, as they twist and turn and branch out as silhouettes.
Most foreboding is the drawing, Escape Is Done, where the jagged lesions of black and grey almost completely cover the luminosity of her circle, a kind of warning of climate change and chaos. This malevolent image brings to mind the giant landslide in Big Sur that has reformed our coastline, the result of heavy rains, fires and a historic and withering drought. Dark and light, dense yet delicate, her linear yet dimensional drawings reflect the beauty of our earth and all its inherent fragility and dangers.