Floater (from the ‘Sun Collaborations’ series) | 2016

Cyanotype on paper in acrylic box frame
100 x 100 cm

Made by placing photo-chemically treated paper flat on the earth and exposing it to natural sunlight over several minutes, these motifs are meant to be ambiguous in scale – geometric shapes that could be seen as either discrete objects or celestial forms. I see each one as a cyan pixel, wherein an old photographic printing technique calls up the particulate-matter of the digital realm. Cyan is both the chemically-expressed color of the cyanotype process and the artificial color of the oceans of satellite mapping, a la CMYK. The spatial nature of the photo-process itself suggests a collapse of the space between the sun and the paper, the sky and ground.


Fleeting Sea (Measuring the coastline of a puddle) | 2014

C-print mounted on aluminum dibond
90 x 73 cm
Edition of 6

Accompanying drawings:
Maps 1–5
Ink and pencil on paper
150 cm x 170 cm

A puddle, photographed near Cabo de Roca in Portugal, the westernmost point of continental Europe, was drawn and measured at 1-to-1 scale as a preliminary study for the subsequent, larger-scale research and performance project ‘The Coastline Paradox’. According to Lewis Fry Richardson’s coastline paradox, one could wind a ruler around every single pebble and grain of sand on an island’s perimeter so thoroughly that its seemingly finite length could actually unfurl into millions upon millions of kilometers. The smaller the unit of measure, the larger the totality of the measurement. Our small, isolated world could, in fact, go on forever.


Copper Fields (in 5 parts) | 2018

Paint on copper
5 @ 50 x 40 cm

Copper is the metal of our telecommunication infrastructure, of our speed. It is also a native metal, one that can be pulled directly from the earth with no further transformation. It both possesses a metallic stolidity and is so soft that can take on organic forms. In the series ‘Copper Fields’, the white grid drawn on the surfaces of the copper sheets tightens from field to field; a transformation is underway, from an almost pure copper landscape to a surface more resembling wrinkled paper. Like a map, at first the territory of the copper is marked out and readied for measurement, but as the resolution increases from piece to piece, the dense map lines overtake and obscure the very surface they aim to quantify.

Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by C.O.C.A.

Elizabeth McTernan


Elizabeth McTernan (b. 1981, Rhinebeck, NY, USA) has performed artistic research over land and sea, in North America, Europe, Russia, Central & Southeast Asia, and India, processing it with actions, installation, drawing, printmaking, text, and artist’s books. After living in Brooklyn, Yosemite National Park, Japan, and Vietnam, she currently lives, works, and walks in Berlin. She has been invited as an artist-in-residence at a number of reputable institutions across Europe and the US, has exhibited widely, and has spoken at many academic conferences over the years. A coauthored paper of hers has recently been published in the MIT Press Leonardo Music Journal. Elizabeth is an active member of the award-winning cultural association >top e.V. in Berlin.

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