SIDEREAL SILENCE: CHALYBEATE

(Sidereal: /saɪˈdɪɹi.əl/ of or with respect to the distant stars. Determined by the stars.)

supported by: Antioch College, Glen Helen Ecology Institute | geology advisor: Peter Townsend | special thanks: Jennifer Wenker, Deanne Bell, Emily Steinmetz, George Bieri, Benjamin Silliman

With the Sidereal Silence series, I search to make visible that sentient presence, the eternal flow of life, which I can not fully comprehend, but rather sense, as elusive and immediate as a lingering scent, creating works evocative of cosmic time and space, reminding us of our place in and connection to the web of life, geological history, and the cosmos.

Chalybeate /kəˈlɪbiː.eɪt/=Chalybeate waters, also known as ferruginous waters, are mineral spring waters containing salts of iron. The word "chalybeate" is derived from the Latin word for steel, "chalybs", which follows from the Greek word χάλυψ khálups. Khálups is the singular form of Khálubes or Chalybes, who were mythical people living on Mount Ida in north Asia Minor who had invented iron working. ("Chalybeate," n.d.)

Reddish colors originated by iron oxide have continued to be significant elements for my work—red ocher, clay bole, turf ash, henna, dragon's blood (dracaena resin), and 450-million-year-old Ordovician rose-colored shale.

An element of celestial origin, iron (Fe) reveals an earthy reddish color when it encounters oxygen. In my creative process, the initial flow of chalybeate water is clear. It then manifests red on raw cotton canvas where it encounters air and calcium-based mineral particles, interacting also with already reddish tufa dust sediment.*

*The Yellow Spring’s ferruginous water precipitates tufa (CaCO3). The tufa at first is colored by less than 1% limonite. Limonite is FeO(OH)•nH2O, in other words, iron oxide (hydroxide)•variably hydrated. The variable (n) amounts of water (H2O) produce a range of colors. Limonite is the yellow-orange part of the painting. When the limonite at the Yellow Spring dries, some of it converts to hematite, Fe2O3—the darker orange-red area in the paintings.


Yellow Springs, OH, 2016


Sidereal Silence: Chalybeate #18 | 2016 | ferruginous mineral spring water deposit on raw cotton canvas, resin | 117 x 82 x 3.5 cm
Shinji Turner-Yamamoto | Sidereal Silence: Chalybeate #18 | 2016 | ferruginous mineral spring water deposit on raw cotton canvas, resin | 117 x 82 x 3.5 cm