In this video, artist Josiah McElheny discusses his Observations series, including the work Seven Observations for June Tyson. The paintings in McElheny’s Observation series are abstracted depictions of the deep night sky, comprised of a dense accumulation of glass elements seamlessly inserted into a wood-panel surface. At the work’s center is a cluster of micro-mosaic glass inspired by what the artist calls “early, strange abstract drawings,” renderings of the nebulae in the night sky that date from the late 18th to early 19th centuries. The largest work in this series is dedicated to singer June Tyson, who performed in the Sun Ra Arkestra from 1968 until her death in 1992. McElheny notes that the work is specifically inspired by her voice in the song "Somebody Else’s World (a.k.a. Somebody Else's Idea)," in which she sings about the painful alienation of our current world.
This video was produced on the occasion of the Online Viewing Room Cosmologies, on view from April 22 - June 30, 2020.