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 is not political or social commentary, but an acknowledgement of the existence of interconnectedness of these visual worlds. Similar geometries are echoed and mark the landscapes of the cellular, the human and the geological.

Thanks for taking the time to look!

Jessica Scriver