(Quintessence: [kwin-tes-uh ns] the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies.)

Crystals are everywhere—in clouds composed of ice, diamonds within a meteorite formed in the solar system's earliest moments, in calcite micro-crystals in the brain's pineal gland, in ephemeral ice converging for a brief moment on a window pane in winter.

I culture crystals with water soluble minerals on supports. The resulting crystals’ patterns depend mainly on my collaborators: the materials' inherent geometric properties, the gravitational pull of the earth, and water's evaporation/cooling process. The work pays homage to minerals and crystals, the essential elements without which our bodies cannot exist. The alchemical process explores a poetic reunion with nature, and expression of the sublime unity and connection between nature and humanity. It manifests nature's power, its ubiquitous presence, and humanity’s intrinsic entwinement.

In Constellaria I work with fossil fragments collected in the OH-KY-IN tri-state region, concentrating on a strata called the Cincinnati Arch. The series’ name refers to the Cincinnatian Ordovician, a 505-438 million-year-old fossil with a coral or treelike branching structure. As the name implies, the fossil's surface is covered with innumerable starlike marks, evoking connections between the celestial and terrestrial. I envision these fossils as the stars of the earth. With the Constellaria and Quintessence series, I explore the essential and the revelation and meditation on patterns in nature and time. I create 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.

Cicninnati, OH, 2014

Shinji Turner-Yamamoto | CONSTELLARIA #11