Renaissance science, with its Aristotelian basis, was replete with mysterious connectivities and influences. Objects were invisibly bound to each other by inexplicable yearnings and affected each other in curious ways. Alchemy, the medieval forerunner of chemistry, through a variety enigmatic physical and mystical methods, worked to purify, perfect and transmute material objects, the human body and the soul, with the goal of achieving wealth, good health, immortality and transcendence. Alchemists believed that the purity of their bodies and minds influenced the chemical reactions they created – that their conscious intentions affected the material world.
The subsequent encroachment of the Newtonian worldview caused these beliefs of connectivity to give way to the understanding of separability and the theory of determinism, which explained the world from a much more mechanistic viewpoint, abandoning the notion of objects or interactions being influenced by human consciousness. This was the basic understanding of the world for a couple of centuries.
Today, quantum physics has revived the concept of interconnectedness on a fundamental level. Energy and matter, space and time, are intricately entwined with each other, two sides of the same coin. In addition, though it’s controversial within the physics community, the theory of quantum entanglement addresses the observation of influence by human consciousness on particles within quantum experiments. The ancient alchemists could never have proved interconnection on this level, but this unexpected discovery by modern-day scientists gives me a curious sense of coming full circle.
In this body of work, Elementals, I imagine the power of our personal intentions and consciousness to influence, and even create, the world around us.
The title Elementals comes from the German Renaissance alchemist, Paracelsus, who envisioned elementals as symbolic beings that were something between spirit and human. Each elemental personified a natural element – earth, water, air or fire – and therefore possessed the powers to generate, manipulate and transmute their particular element. Humans were considered to be a combination of all the elements and to have influence over them all.
Working in collage, assemblage and installation, Dayna Thacker uses found materials to investigate thought systems we create in order to make sense of the world and ourselves, with a particular interest in the overlap of contemplative disciplines and scientific theory. A graduate of the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Thacker worked in Atlanta from 2006 – 2014, and now lives on the coast of Texas. She was awarded a studio space at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center for 2008-2013; was a finalist for the Forward Arts Foundation 2010 Emerging Artist Award; and her work was featured in the 2009 Southern issue of New American Paintings. Thacker’s 2010 solo show at the Barbara Archer Gallery was reviewed in the September/October 2010 issue of Art Papers magazine; and her 2013 solo show was praised in ArtsATL and burnaway. Her work was included in the recent “Works on Paper: 1980-2013 Women from the Permanent Collection” at MOCA GA.