D e b  T o d d  W h e e l e r

...in the atmospheres

Floater Fields


Irene's relics

Fjordal Visions

Factory Clouds (black)

Factory Clouds (pink)


...in the atmospheres

a solo exhibition at Miller Yezerski Gallery

photos by Stewart Clements


In this atmosphere, an atmosphere that scuba divers call 1 bar (101325 pa of pressure), we breathe the air, a perfect mixture of gases that we instinctually suck into our bodies… it’s our atmosphere, and we inhabit it and fill it with our expulsions: the things we shed, we expel, expunge….off and away… a scream, an emotion, things we are done with, byproducts of living, of productivity…. The residue of making…. extra chemicals, turpentine, wrappers, fumes, all that stuff we want to disappear, and leave us with the treasure we made…. By-products be gone! Evaporate into the other atmospheres, up into the stratosphere, or down the drain, flushed away into the vast and uninhabitable depths of space and sea… but you know the planet’s cycles spit it all right back at us…. oceans return flotsam to the shores, evaporated liquids rain back down- nothing is truly gone forever, nothing dissipates into thin air… it’s just not true. It will always return to us, tangible hauntings of our own productivity.

The “clouds” that stream from the power plant, emissions from the process of making power dissipate into the atmosphere, join the clouds that are already up there. What is the difference, really except for a few chemical configurations…. Thinking about “nature” as a construct, as an idea that looks the way we want it to. If I print these images using the nostalgic early technology of the sun print, crop out the source of the “cloud”, are they then beautiful? Can you live with that aestheticization and fakery to convince you that the natural world isn’t already gone, taken over by our residue?

What does it mean to be productive? As an artist it certainly is the goal, as a society we strive for it. In the global market we aim to produce goods and services that are valued. But what is the cost of all this productivity? ...in the atmospheres is a solo exhibition of images and objects inspired by the residue of production, the things that leak out in the process, the slag- things we wish would disappear…

above: detail of Floater Field 1