Spring 2013

Artist Project / Float

Lighter than air

Oliver Wasow

Lovers of air travel find it exhilarating to hang poised between the illusion of immortality and the fact of death.
—Alexander Chase

If you can conjure up the faith needed to believe that gravity can be defied and that you can float in the sky, air travel offers up the tantalizing promise of escape. The moment you doubt whether you can fly, however, you cease forever to be able to do it. Which is all to say, things float when they are positively buoyant.

The phenomenon of weightlessness occurs when there is no force of support on your body, when your body is effectively in free fall, accelerating downward at the rate of gravity.

Winslow Homer, The Life Line, 1884.

Fear of flying is the fear of having no support.

The airplane stays up because it doesn’t have the time to fall.
—Orville Wright

Time travel is the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space.

Isaac Asimov, who wrote often on the subject of time travel, flew only twice in his life. Although he could freely imagine faster-than-light space vehicles streaking among the stars, he had a lifelong fear of flying here on Earth.

One has to wonder: Why did airplane crashes never catch on in painting the way shipwrecks did?

Radiosonde Probe Mishap, 2011.
Smoke and Wings, 2010.
Trappes, France, 2010.
Planes over Sweathouse, 2009.
Flying Machine, 2012.
Flight, 2011.
Hallucination (Wisconsin), 2009.
Grey Trail, 2010.
Blimp, 2010.
Stasis, 2009.

Oliver Wasow is an artist, teacher, and occasional curator based in Rhinebeck, New York. In 2012, his work was included in the exhibition “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In May 2013, “Artist Unknown/The Free World”—an exhibition he organized at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Florida—will travel to the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, an arts center in Woodstock, New York.

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