Date of Graduation
Master of Fine Arts in Art (MFA)
Second Committee Member
The body of this paper is a formatted version of text which exists natively on the web and is accessible at www.personalequation.art. Its non-linear narrative is meant to accompany and mirror, not describe, the artwork in the exhibition. The following two paragraphs are copied from the exhibition statement accompanying Personal Equation, which is on view in the Reading Room at the Fayetteville Public Library from April 3 to June 30, 2023: A personal equation is one that attempts to account for the inevitable role of subjectivity in scientific observations. The term was coined by astronomers in the 18th century who, upon noticing inexplicable differences between their measurements, realized that the accuracy of an observation is influenced as much by the observer as it is by the instrument being used. In 1877, for example, Giovanni Schiaparelli noticed dark lines on the surface of Mars that he believed to be channels of water criss-crossing its arid surface, causing a frenzy of speculation about the potential for life on the distant world. Only decades later, after many failed attempts to reproduce the finding, was it realized that Schiaparelli had probably seen the shadows of the blood vessels in his own eye. With these drawings I explore and embrace my own personal equation, grappling with the hyper-specificity of looking out into the cosmos as a human being trapped on the surface of the Earth. Through quiet scale-shifts and implied comparisons, drawings of widely disparate subjects are interwoven in an alchemic dance of familiarity and ambiguity. References for these drawings are pulled thoughtfully from thoughtless drifts through astronomical archives, photographs of my everyday life, and the depths of the internet where, just as in science, many contradicting realities are forced to co-exist. Like Schiaparelli, I’m trying desperately to find meaning in the noise with imperfect instruments and narrowly limited senses.
Hobbs, N. (2023). Personal Equation. Graduate Theses and Dissertations Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/etd/5086