Migration of Souls

tes·sel·la·tion
/ˌtesəˈlāSH(ə)n/
noun : an arrangement of shapes closely fitted together in a repeated pattern without gaps or overlapping.

The simplest type of tessellation is one that uses only one shape throughout the entire pattern, like a grid of squares or a honeycomb. Although potentially hypnotic to some of us, these most basic geometric repetitions don’t leave a lot of room for symbolic representation and the most lasting Islamic tessellations quickly move beyond them.

M. C. Escher, the artist perhaps best known in the western world for tessellations, made great use of single shapes as the basis for many of his patterns but introduced the organic: fish, birds, lizards, humans. However, even Escher almost always created his tessellations by using 2 base shapes or by flipping the one base shape back and forth.

This piece began as a challenge to myself to create meaningful symbolism using only one base shape (not even allowing the flip) and performing no transformations on it. By constraining the tessellation to its most basic form, I am hoping to celebrate the beauty and power of the tessellation principle itself.

The birds on the right, carved through the paint into the wood are the same shape as the birds on the left which expose the painted surface in relief. The tessellation in the center provides the transformation from one state to the next. As with other pieces, I am here asking the question of both the positive and the negative spaces. Where is embodiment and where the ethereal? From where and to where are the souls migrating?

This piece is 12 inches high, 24 inches wide, and 3/4 of an inch thick.

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