Elaine Whittaker TETHER

A mixed media installation of wire with grown salt crystals, nylon ropes, digital photographs, & an electrical box.



How do we recognize the energy that connects and propels us?
Is it the technologically produced electricity that is transmitted through transformers and grids, powering our homes, offices, and social lives?
Or is it the physiological system of impulses produced by the network of billions of nerve cells in our body's circuitry? Should it be considered parapsychic and unknowable, a life force that connects us to each other, to our ancestors and descendents, and to the earth?

Tether is an installation that encompasses all these possibilities.
Two black & white photographs anchor the installation. On one wall a photograph of the exposed back of the artist, on the opposite wall a photograph of the robe of her recently deceased father. They are connected by a series of sculptures. Positioned over the artist’s back, an umbilical spinal cord of rope and wire flows to the floor, unfurling. This unraveling exposes hundreds of neuro-dynamic tendrils that weave their way through a series of salted wire grids hanging from the ceiling. Upon reaching the last of the grids they rebind, forming a single knotted strand. This strand moves overhead and flows down the opposite wall into a gray electrical box positioned over the photograph of the robe. Closed and static, the breaker arm on the box is switched to ‘off’. Unifying the installation, a soundwork emanates and permeates – mournful, agitated, vital.

Through sculpture, photography and sound, Tether presents a meditation – on life and loss, presence and absence, tangible and ethereal ... on the energy of connection.


Tether by Ruth Roach Pierson

The Symbolical Real by Ruth Roach Pierson