Statement: The E Word

Yellowstone | Oil on canvas | 16 x 12 inches | © 2009 Marilyn Fenn

The E Word” explores life at different scales: from the elements of evolution to the essentials of our environment, and on to the endless reaches of space. Through the interplay and juxtaposition of the micro with the macro, I try to depict on canvas what nature could do in the world but hasn’t gotten around to yet. There are always new combinations, and with them, new opportunities for capturing the kind of emergent qualities that animate the world; new ways of discovering parts whose sum creates a greater whole.

This wealth of possibilities lies in the inescapable fractal nature of the physical world: tiny crystals under a microscope resemble mountain ranges; neurons mirror nebulae; zoosphores echo supernovae.

I like to combine my lifelong passion for painting with my interest in science. I crave to know how things are made and how they appear, and then to explore how I can say something about the familiar world in a new way. Think “The Science Channel” on canvas.

My interest is in the act of creation rather than recapitulating what has already been created. How can I use the techniques of painting — the push-and-pull of strong color, the beauty of loose brushwork, my skills at representation — to paint a world that doesn’t happen to exist, but perhaps could? What else is possible; what further permutations of the universe can be depicted?