An original piece that is part of the set design for the Looking Glass contemporary dance theater show
Watercolor, ink and oil on 300 lb Arches Watercolor paper
Approx. 11.25 x 16.25
The counterpart to this piece is Cranionomical Diagraph.
This piece is fairly accurate. It was cross-referenced from various phrenology charts both modern and antique (mostly antique). All of these varied slightly from one another in placement, proximity, and language for each character area of the brain. There are symbolic references in which pieces of the skull are removed and what the labels are corresponding to them.
There are two sets of three posters, each corresponding to the real world and wonderland. The real world images are styled after antique medical journal illustrations of the 19th century; made to look as though actual specimens are laid upon an illustrated parchment page. This required a mixed approach in my choice of medium (watercolor, pen & ink, oils) and style (realism vs. illustrative). They are cut and dry (albeit in my eyes still a bit whimsical compared to my actual work in a specimen lab where there was no parchment used or decorative illustrations and script on the page) catalogues of anatomy, reflecting the need for introspective organization and order. Everything is labeled, accounted for and in its place, despite the fact that this sense of organization is an illusion that we have things under control. On the contrary, there is a letting go if we are to find ourselves.
Conceived by Cera Byer, these are her comments:
I chose three pieces to feature as the "posters" in Alice's bedroom: An antique medical illustration of a human spine, a phrenology chart, and a heart in a cage. To me, I was hinting at the delicate structures that hold us in place. They were in Alice's bedroom, her private chambers, the secret corner of her world where she is shown at her most vulnerable. The spine was meant to hint that inside, we're all made of the same bits. The phrenology chart, another illustration that alluded to sameness - and also that one science of explaining the human mind is as good as another, depending upon what you choose to believe. The heart in a cage was meant to be an allusion to the Queen of Hearts, who appears later in the production. When I saw Raven's piece "the Garden", I knew an additional piece wouldn't need to be created - we could use that one, the aesthetic was perfect.
In Wonderland, these three "posters" are replaced by their "Wonderland Counterparts" - Instead of a human spine, we show the inner workings of an imaginary Clockwork Beetle, the phrenology chart is replaced by the "Crainiological Diagram" of a rabbit (complete with pocket watch and buttons), and the caged heart swings open and empty.