Somewhere in my academic journey, I saw a short 1977 film called Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames which left a very lasting impression. In the context of the classroom where I saw it, the film was shown to illustrate how adding a zero to a number affects scale, but I fell in love with the top-down perspective on the earth that was featured in the film.

The zoomed out view of satellite imagery is easily accessed now, but back in the early ’90s when I saw the film, it was much harder to come by. I yearned to revisit the neat geometric forms of the boats and docks meeting the more organic shapes of the sea, the square picnic blanket in the neat field bordered by a grid of Chicago streets. I still seek out and note this geometry whenever I can on plane rides and in my paintings.

The Eames film planted another high-impact seed in my young mind: That the world in its vastness has periodic moments of nothingness and everything-ness and that our world zoomed out looks very similar to the world zoomed in to the subatomic. Today we see this idea expressed in many iterations, but still, I love to play with scale, layering the micro and macro on the same plane. In light of a recent run-in with breast cancer and now living in the midst of a pandemic, I think a lot about cells and how the world we live in affects them. The work that I do underscores the similar geometries echoed in the landscapes of the cellular, the human and the geological.

Thanks for taking the time to look!

Jessica Scriver