Print Series:
| Marginalia |






The ongoing Marginalia series of large-scale limited edition inkjet prints begins with rare books and manuscripts on subjects having to do with the history of art, astronomy, physics, religion and other subjects, after which high-resolution scans of selected title and text pages are acquired. Added texts and/or painterly commentary to the scanned images refer to marginalia (the timeless practice of writing in book's page margins) are drawn from my own writings and those of various individuals in history.






Among the series, the above scanned manuscript page both left and right is from composer Charles Ives'(1874-1954) The Unanswered Question, double-exposed with a Walt Whitman 1867 poem embracing Ives' cosmic mystery — but which also implied an unfavorable comparison of science to personal transcendent experience (left). On the right, it is answered a hundred years later in a quote by Nobel Prize physicist Richard Feynman, in which he argues that mystery and transcendent sensation await us not only in romanticizing physical matter, but equally in pursuing knowledge of it.


Left: Marginalia (Walt Whitman/Charles Ives), 2021; inkjet limited edition, 47x38in.
Text excerpt: Walt Whitman, When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer, 1867.
Scan of manuscript score: Charles Ives, The Unanswered Question, ca. 1930-35.

Right: Marginalia (Richard Feynman/Charles Ives#1), 2021; inkjet limited edition, 47x38in.
Text excerpt: Richard Feynman, Feynman Lectures on Physics, 1964.
Scan of manuscript score: Charles Ives, The Unanswered Question, ca. 1930-35.










Marginalia (Richard Feynman/Charles Ives#2), 2021; inkjet limited edition, 47x38in.
Text excerpt: Richard Feynman, Quote from BBC interview, 1981. (detail on right)
Scan of manuscript score: Charles Ives, The Unanswered Question, ca. 1930-35.











Marginalia (Standing on Earth Gazing Skyward), 2021; inkjet limited edition, 28x31 inches.
Text excerpt: Stephen Nowlin, SKY exhibition essay, 2020;
Scan of engraving: Johannes Hevelius, (1611-1687), from Selenographia, 1647.










Marginalia: Of Scepticism and Certainty #1, 2022
Image: scan of chapter heading page from Essays on Several Important
Subjects in Philosophy and Religion
, 1676, by Joseph Glanvill (1636-1680).
Inkjet archival print, 66.5 x 42 inches (mounted).







Marginalia (To the Best of Our Knowledge), 2022
Text from Stephen Nowlin essay Uncertainty, 2016.
Inkjet archival print, 62 x 74 inches (mounted).


Detail










Marginalia: Of Scepticism and Certainty #2, 2022
Image: scan of chapter heading page from Essays on Several Important
Subjects in Philosophy and Religion
, 1676, by Joseph Glanvill (1636-1680).
Inkjet archival print, 22.5 x 27.5 inches (framed).









Marginalia: Nature is space . . ., 2022
Image: scan of title page, John Smeaton F.R.S., "Experimental Enquiry
Concerning the Natural Powers of Wind and Water," 1794.
Double exposed with text: from an essay by Stephen Nowlin, 2017.
Inkjet archival print, 49.5 x 32.5 inches(framed).


Marginalia text:
NATURE is space from here to over there, the airy in-between through which we pass to arrive at something. It's wandering from the bedroom to find coffee and the morning paper, it's the train station commute to the other end of the line, it's pushing open the door. It's anywhere and everywhere we go, fly, swim, dance, crawl and fall — and what we evade, sit on, step over. We avoid walls and the edges of cliffs. We're skilled experts, dancers in a maze performing the choreography of getting around. We learn to know truth and our trust rises to a belief — no matter what else we may say we believe in, our actions pledge allegiance to our true belief, which is Nature. We worship our corner of it in unceremonious practice every time we start the car, board a jet, ride an elevator, or escape falling down the stairs. By gravity we're stuck to the surface of an orbiting spherical satellite of a hydrogen-fusion star floating in a space vacuum, just as sure as we pour milk on our cereal. Nature is space, our cradle. Our mystery, our evolution, our only heaven.









stephen at stephennowlin dot com