The Eye in the Sky, June 14, 2011
Eagle Rock's Curve Line Space presents "Vertical Viewpoint" by Christine Weir.
Posted by Dan Kimpel
The view from an airplane soaring 30,000 feet in the sky terrified Christine Weir so much that she decided to do something about it. Attending “Fear of Flying” classes not only helped her deal with her anxieties but also inspired the Silver Lake artist to create a series of drawings from an in-air perspective.
“Art gave me power over phobias,” says Weir. “My process helped me get through my issues.”
This past Saturday, an exhibition of Weir’s graphite pencil on paper drawings opened at Curve Line Space, an art gallery and custom framing store on 1557 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. Titled Vertical Viewpoint, the exhibition is open during gallery hours, Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., through July 16.
Using Google Earth as a starting point, Weir discovers man-made patterns—farms, reservoirs, airports and government sites, which she employs as a basis for her drawings.
“These images can be cathartic, obsessive and controlling,” her artist’s mission statement says. “They can relate to a newfound power over my phobias, but also to my continued vulnerability. They are my expelled neuroses; ideas that are a menace to me, encroaching on my happiness. At other times I feel as though I am channeling a ‘character's’ mindset—an armchair explorer, a paranoid, a stalker, or a conspiracy theorist.”
A graduate of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, with a Masters degree in art history from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, Weir worked in Los Angeles in the auctioneering industry. In 2006, she left to become a stay-at-home mom for her son.
“I knew I wanted to draw again,” she recalls. “I would do it every day at one in the morning when he was asleep. Now he’s at school, and if I get five hours to work, that’s lovely.” She adds: “Sometime my husband will take him out and I will get seven hours.”
For inspiration, Weir listens to recording artists such as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey and Portishead. “When I draw, I am fixated on the music I’m hearing, and will sometimes listen to the same record every day.” The music complements the drawing: “I go into a zone where they feed off of each other.”
Staging the show at Curve Line Space was a perfect fit, according to the gallery/framing store’s owner, Tim Yalda. “The monochromatic feel of graphite, charcoals or ink seems so honest,” he says. “Even black and white photos I respond to more than color.” Yalda has four additional events planned through the end of 2011, all featuring drawings.
In the gallery's airy expanse, the drawings’ deep textural elements are enhanced by perceptions of light and shadow. Within their black and white spectrum, a luminous glow echoes atmospheric origins. “On a purely visual basis, I am looking to create a surface texture and tactility that is most often found amongst paintings,” explains Weir. “They are abstracted nocturnes broken into simple forms, as visualized most prominently by the radiating circles representing light.”
While these images allow Weir to explore modern mythologies, the artist emphasizes that interpretations are truly in the eyes of the viewers. “I want people to enjoy these pieces,” says Weir—“to examine the small details and to get something out of it for themselves.”