Elisabeth Frost and
Rose Was All There Was
Kornberg and I have been collaborating since 2008, when we were paired for The Poetic Dialogue Project, which linked poets with visual artists to create new works for an exhibition that traveled to several museums in the U.S. Since that time, we have had our work shown in numerous commercial galleries and museums in both group and solo shows. Our first book, Bindle, was published by Ricochet Editions in 2015, with afterwords by Rachel Blau DuPlessis and Prudence Roberts.
— Text Copyright © Elisabeth Frost, Images Copyright © Dianne Kornberg,
all rights reserved.
Rose Was All There Was, like many of our photo-based, text-image works, revolves around the intersection of scientific and humanistic ways of knowing. I attach our artists’ statement about the piece, as well as the five images in the series.
What do we see when we look? How do we know what we’re perceiving? The questions behind Rose Was All There Was concern visual perception and knowledge — especially the evidentiary knowledge the scientific method produces, one that is paradoxically based on sensory information that is often subjective. In the summer of 2015, we were granted access to the collections at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs. The process of examining marine specimens under the microscope led us from a view of these samples as scientific evidence to a very different appreciation of the visual phenomena we experienced in looking. With the intent of creating a series about the preservation and scientific interpretation of jelly fish specimens — some of which were collected as long ago as the 1950s — we were taken instead with the effects of time and color on these microscope slides: the aging and cracked glass, the decay of the medium used to preserve the specimens, and the accidents of line and color that result. A meditation on these luminous images, the text embraces the notion of the circle and its color fields to explore vision itself. In this way, Rose Was All There Was leaves behind the original purpose of these artifacts — that of scientific study — along with their identifying marks, to ask how we experience something as fundamental as light, as fragile as glass, as transformative as color.
— Dianne Kornberg and Elisabeth Frost
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