M.L. SNOWDEN SCULPTURE
EMPIRE OF LIGHT
Of all the sculptures in the constellation of Snowden’s oeuvre, Angstrom is the first sculpture to be realized in half life-size. Built upon a floating skein of bronze, nearly all the weight of Angstrom is jettisoned aloft by the sheer grace of its elegant rising line. Here in Angstrom, we meet the first sculpture of the Empire of Light in a design that traces the slim ascent of a light wave. It is sculpture that speaks to the central core of our perception of the universe, for it is through light - through its presence and through its absence, that we perceive the cosmos.
Scientifically, a light wave consists of a hill and a valley forming an “S”; a form which shapes the skein of the sculpture’s lyric balance. In this cornerstone work of the Celestial Array, Snowden has evoked the vision of a light wave measured by an Angstrom; a unit of linear measurement named for the Swedish physicist, Anders Jonas Angstrom (1814-1874). Where the Angstrom has been historically used to measure the wavelengths of visible light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation, the actual unit of measurement is incredibly small, equal to .1 nanometer, which is approximately 1/250 millionth of an inch. In this sculptural evocation, it is remarkable to consider that the sculpture Angstrom has been mathematically calculated by Snowden to be a sixteen trillion, two hundred and fifty million times enlargement of an Angstrom - as it presently rises in its bronze half life scale. The sculpture forms an invitation to experience the miracle of candescent phenomena existing beyond the plane of unaided human sight. It is sculpture that manifests a portrait of the heart of light.
Angstrom, as a sculptural meditation, expresses M.L. Snowden’s central idea that the very substance of humankind, stars, planetary masses and bronze are created of the same interrelated yet differently arranged elements. The phenomenon of light itself expresses wave characteristics that reverberate through all creation; the realization that any moving particle or object has an associated wave brought physicist Louis de Broglie the Nobel Prize in 1929. And yet, a light wave, viewed at a certain minute scale, also exhibits the characteristics of a particle. Snowden in her ground breaking sculpture, Angstrom, wonderfully expresses the dichotomy of the wave and the particluate quality of light. The dual characteristics of light are sculpted by Snowden through the composition of a wave, seen not only in the curvature of the abstraction weaving in distinct and particular sections through the design, but also in the main “particle” or figural element infused with contraposto - the gentle sway of anatomy achieved through a masterful angled shoulder and torso line. Indeed, here in Angstrom, a clean, linear tapestry of effects is achieved through a dramatic wave line and a magnificent figural focal point that imaginatively and mutually converse. A central meditation that occupied Snowden through the creation of the work is that light is elegant because it mediates its elemental particle and wave characteristics in a harmonious fusion - to the point that they flow together yet remain distinct.
For Snowden, the hands of bronze Angstrom are particularly important: the sculptor has enlarged their scale and splayed their gesture to express a sense of vivid radiance. From important roots in the Paris studios of Rodin and Antonin Mercié, Snowden brings to her sculpture the glowing luminous platinum Fournier Patina burnished with a special historic pearl variant for Angstrom and the touch of the historic Rodin tools that were used to shape the dynamic, immortal planes of this unique evocation of light.