Microscopic: a new mosaic series

Next month we're excited to be participating in a group show with a few friends at Crossroads Art Gallery. In honor of the coming spring and the natural themes and materials in much of the group's work, the title of the show is GROWTH. In addition to our work, this show features the work of furniture maker and designer Christina Boy, ceramic artist Maria Galuszka of Butternut Press, muralist Emily Herr of Herr Suite, and textile artist Emily Nicolaides.

The show opens Friday, March 18 with a reception and entertainment at Crossroads from 6-9 pm, and runs through May 8. Hope you can make it out to see all the great new work the group has created for the show!

As a preview, here's a peek at the mosaic series of microscopic images Johannah has been working on for this show. Each small piece measures 6"Hx6"W. The materials are unglazed porcelain and found reclaimed viterous glass.

{Click any of the images below to enlarge.}

While brainstorming ideas for mosaics for this show, I first thought I'd return to familiar themes such as maps or aerial views. But as I sat with the idea of "growth," jotting down words that came to mind in a sketchbook, I was struck by the idea of cellular imagery. I've long thought microscopic patterns would make for interesting mosaics.

This first piece I created for this series is based on osteons, the structural element of compact bone. Compact or cortical bone forms the outer layer of most of our bones. If each of these mosaics represents an element of the larger theme of "growth," Bone Cells represents the element of "support." In order to have the strength and courage to grow, we all need to be supported.

Next up is Mitosis, or cell division. Specifically, I based this piece on imagery of metaphase, the middle part of the process when the chromosomes are paired and aligned but not yet separated. Mitosis represents the element of "change." This is the heart of growth, that moment when we teeter on the line between our old selves and our new selves.

The last piece in the series is based on the rods and cones, photoreceptors in our retinas that give us, respectively, night and color vision. Rods & Cones represents the element of "vision" in the greater theme of "growth." We need vision to imagine a new way forward and motivate us to grow. While I created this piece last in the series, perhaps it belongs at the beginning of the story.

I originally thought I would leave these pieces ungrouted, but Mitosis and Rods & Cones seemed to need a little more contrast. So I grouted each of these pieces in two shades of gray, and I think it made all the difference!

Finished series ready for their frames! Come on out to Crossroads to see these works and all the other great work the group is creating!

WHERE: Crossroads Art Center, 2016 Staples Mill Rd., RVA 23230

WHEN: Opening reception Friday March 18, 6-9 pm. Show runs through May 8.