The Atlas of Dreams - Color Plate 228

Richard Maier

Los Angeles, United States

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These flowers seem innocuous enough, but the cell-like background bothers you. You become convinced that while you’re not looking, it shifts and changes…

“There was nothing else to be said. She went back to her work as I squinted through the microscope at the sample from whatever had killed the anthropologist. At first I didn’t know what I was looking at because it was so unexpected. It was brain tissue—and not just any brain tissue. The cells were remarkably human, with some irregularities. My thought at the time was that the sample had been corrupted, but if so not by my presence: The surveyor’s notes perfectly described what I saw, and when she looked at the sample again later she confirmed its unchanged nature.
I kept squinting through the microscope lens, and raising my head, and squinting again, as if I couldn’t see the sample correctly. Then I settled down and stared at it until it became just a series of squiggles and circles. Was it really human? Was it pretending to be human? As I said, there were irregularities. And how had the anthropologist taken the sample? Just walked up to the thing with an ice-cream scoop and asked, “Can I take a biopsy of your brain?” No, the sample had to come from the margins, from the exterior. Which meant it couldn’t be brain tissue, which meant it was definitely not human. I felt unmoored, drifting, once again.” – Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation

While working on Color Plates 228, 229, and 230, I was maybe a little bit obsessed with Jeff VanerMeer’s “Southern Reach” trilogy and the movie adaptation of “Annihilation”…

“Color Plate 228” combines a photograph from Unsplash photographer Pasi Jormalainen with a painting created by my father, Gus Maier.

“The Atlas Of Dreams” is an ongoing project begun in 1999. Each ‘plate’ is composed of several different images layered to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Tangled white borders bleed into centers. Source images may include – though aren’t limited to: period engravings, filtered stock photos, ArtMatic renders, NASA images, and the paintings of my father, Gus Maier. Keep an eye out for stray creatures poking and prodding at the fourth wall, and remember to bookmark your place before you close the Atlas for the night…

Artwork Comments

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait