Ursa Minor

Ursa Minor
the Lesser Bear
Ursa Minor, Draco and Ursa Major
"According to mythology, the Bears were transferred to heaven as a reward for hiding Zeus in Crete from his cannibal father Kronos. Ursa Minor was also identified with Arcas the son of Callisto, transported to the skies as he was about to slay his mother in the guise of a bear. The two Bears were also fabled to have nursed Zeus on Mt. Ida. Zeus, as a reward for their faithful service, changed them into nymphs and placed them among the stars.

Ursa Minor (aka The Little Dipper)
Ursa Minor's chief claim to recognition lies in the universal observation of its lucida, the standard second magnitude star Alpha, known as the "Pole Star" or "Polaris" and to the Greeks "Phoenice" 

Up shot

Ursa Minor and Draco
The mariners of the ancient and modern worlds have placed an equal faith in the guiding beams of the steadfast star. The antiquity of knowledge of this star is attested by the fact that on the Assyrian tablets we find the Pole Star mentioned. The fact that it appears fixed was perhaps the first discovery made in the stellar universe."

from Star Lore by William Tyler Olcott

Clockwise: Draco the Dragon, Ursa Minor, Auriga, Lynx, Ursa Major, Canes Venatici, Bootes and Hercules

to see images of the making of Ursa Minor
including this one of the little cutie 
follow the link below

click on the Ursa Minor icon in the menu


Auriga the Charioteer
with Capella the Goat
You Are Here

Auriga by day
"Allen says; "The results of modern research give us reason to think that this constellation originated on the Euphrates, in much the same form as we have it to-day. 

by night

Seen rising in the north-east, it needs but little imagination to trace the stars of Auriga a resemblance to an ancient roman chariot, so that the title "Chariot" seems more appropriate that "charioteer"

Auriga has also been identified with Erichthonius, the son of Vulcan and Minera, who being deformed and unable to walk invented the chariot. an achievement that secured him a place in the sky.

Ursa Major, Lynx and Auriga with Capella
Capella means "the little she-goat" the goat which suckled the infant jupiter. The story runs that having in his play broken off one of the goat's horns, Jupiter endowed the horn with the power of being filled with whatever the possessor might wish, whence it was called "the Cornucopia" or "horn of plenty." This title is also applied to the horn of Capricornus the Sea Goat."

from Star Lore by William Tyler Olcott

(Clockwise) Ursa Minor, Auriga with Capella, Lynx, Ursa Major and Draco
(Left to Right) Leo, Hercules, Bootes, Canes Venatici, Draco, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Lynx and Auriga

Follow this link to see images of You Are Here in progress


Ursa Major

Ursa Major
the Great Bear
from You Are Here
at Miami International Airport

Ursa Major by Day

"Ursa Major, or the Great Bear, is the most easily recognized and most widely known of all the constellations (with seven stars making up the cup and handle of the Big Dipper). In all the records of an astronomical character that have come down to us we find allusions to this famous group of northern stars. It is unquestionably the most ancient of all the constellations, and universally known as 'the Bear".
Ursa Major by Night

Legend relates that Callisto, a nymph, the beautiful daughter of Lycaon, King of Arcadia, incurred the jealous wrath of Juno. jupiter, fearing Callisto would suffer injury at Juno's hands, transformed her into a bear. Juno on perceiving this induced Diana to kill the bear in the chase, but Jupiter placed his favourite out of harms way in the starry skies. Callisto's son Arcas afterwards became the constellation Ursa Minor.
Ursa Major and Lynx by Day
Ursa Major and Lynx in the Evening

The Arabs also had a consistent figure in the Bier with three mourners following. The title "the Bier" is so similar to the most universal appellation "the Bear" that we might almost suppose that the latter title was a confused rendering of the former.

(Clockwise) Draco, Ursa Minor, Auriga, Lynx, Ursa Major, Canes Venatici, Bootes, Corona Borealis

In some time antedating history, nomads of the east familiar with the constellation of "the Bier" may have reached North America and there conveyed their conception of this star group to the Indians, who translated the idea into terms familiar to their lives (the Bear)
Up shot
The ancients associated the idea of dancing with Ursa Major and the other circumpolar constellations and they not infrequently mention "the dances of the stars" The two bears were imagined reeling around the pole like a pair of waltzers."

from Star Lore by William Tyler Olcott
Up shot 2

Follow the link below to see images of Ursa Major in progress

Click on the Ursa Major icon in the menu to view

Leo Minor

Leo Minor 
the lesser lion
from You Are Here
Miami International Airport

"Hevelius introduced this star group in 1690, forming it from eighteen stars situated between The greater Lion and Bear as it 'partook of the same nature'. The Chinese included the Greater and Lesser Lion in their great figure of the Dragon.

(Right to Left) Leo Minor, Leo Major, Coma Berenices, Virgo, Libra
Leo Minor, the lesser lion
We find many figures duplicated, and in most cases the two figures are close together in the sky. Thus we see the figures of Two Dogs (Canes Venatici), two Bears (Ursa Major and Minor), two Giants subduing Serpents (Hercules and Draco, Ophiuchus and Serpens), each in close proximity. Then there are two goats (Aires and Capricornus), two crowns (Corona Australis and Borealis), two streams and two fish bound together."

from Star Lore by WIlliam Tyler Olcott

Leo Minor with Leo Major

Leo Minor, Leo Major, Coma Berenices, Virgo and Libra

Follow this link to see the making of Leo Minor

click the leo minor icon in the menu

and some of the crazy looks Leo jr has gone thru like these...

Virgo the Virgin from You Are Here

Virgo the Virgin 
"Virgo is the sign the sun enters in August and was depicted in the zodiac holding in her hands the emblems of the harvest. 

By an astronomical allegory, the Virgin of August became a goddess who descended to the earth, presided over the harvest, taught mankind agriculture, and was worshipped under various names.

According to the poets, the Virgin is Astrea, the daughter of Astraeus and Aurora, and the goddess of justice. Near her appear the Scales (Libra) in which, it is said, she weighed the good and evil deeds of men. In the golden age she resided on earth, but becoming offended at the wickedness of mankind she returned to heaven.

In her left hand she bears a head of wheat, or ear of corn, which is marked by the brilliant first magnitude star Spica.

In classic times she was associated with Ceres, or her daughter Proserpine. Proserpine, so the legend relates, was wandering in the fields in the springtime, and was carried off by Pluto to be his wife. Ceres besought Jupiter to intercede in the matter, and consequently Proserpine was allowed her liberty in intervals. This myth is regarded as an allegory. Proserpine represents the seed which is buried in the earth, and in proper time bursts forth into bloom.

Another version of the myth is that Isis, and it was said that she formed the Milky Way by dropping innumerable wheat heads in the sky."

from Star Lore by William Tyler Olcott

Follow this link to view the making of
Virgo the Virgin

and click on the Virgo icon in the side bar

Draco the Dragon from You Are Here

Draco the Dragon

"Mythological accounts of Draco vary considerably. By some this serpent is the guardian of the stars (the golden apples) which hang from the Pole tree in the Garden of Darkness. Others claim that this was the snake snatched by Minerva from the giants, and whirled to the sky before it had a chance to uncoil, thus twisted it sleeps to-day in the heavens around the axes of the world.

Draco with Ursa's major and minor

In north temperate latitudes this constellation never sets (a circumpolar constellation) and the Greeks therefore saw it as an emblem of eternal vigilance, symbolized by this Dragon of the Garden, guarding the precious fruit. Juno, it is said, presented these golden apples to Jupiter on the day of their nuptials, and rewarded Draco for his faithful services by placing him among the stars. 
Draco wit Bootes, Canes Venatici and Ursa minor
The Legend relates that the serpent was slain by Hercules, and in the old maps Hercules is represented as crushing the head of the Dragon under his foot... (see image below) There seems evident reference to God's interview with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel."
from Star Lore by William Tyler Olcott

Draco with Hercules, Corona Borealis and Ursa minor

Hercules holds in his left hand a miniature version of the tree with golden apples teeming with snakes as a symbol of his domination over and slaying of Draco the Dragon
Draco with Bootes and Ursa major

Follow this link to view images of the making of 
Draco the Dragon

and click on the Draco icon in the side bar 

Draco and Ursa minor

A short video about You Are Here

An eight minute video by Jenny Woodward
explaining the concept and making of 
You Are Here

click on the link

You Are Here, a brief description

Upshot at MIA

You Are Here is a mixed media sculptural installation that recreates the constellations of the night sky in physical form, studding them with starlight and suspending them overhead to create a life-size stellarium. 

fig 1

You Are Here was inspired by my first look at a celestial atlas and its detailed illustrations of the constellations in corporeal form, a menagerie of wild and domesticated animals, reptiles, insects, creatures of the sea, birds in flight, symbolic objects, heroines, heroes and mythological beasts all posed in a celestial tableau. The more I looked at these illustrations the more I wanted to be among these stellar constellations, surrounded by their physical presence.

fig 2

Upon studying the distinctive features of celestial atlases I discovered there are two ways constellations are depicted, the internal view, as we see them from earth looking up into he sky (fig 1) and the external view, as they are seen from above looking down toward the earth (fig 2). Seeing both these front and back views only strengthened my desire to transform the constellations into three-dimensions, completing a metamorphosis of sorts, from points of light in the sky to basic shapes to illustrated figures to physical form.

Ursa major and minor in fading light

The animal constellation figures have been created through a kind of craft-taxidermy, using flocking for fur and sequins for scales among other materials. 

Capella the Goat flocked

The sequin scales of Draco the dragon

The human constellations have been cobbled together from tailor and dress forms, wig heads, boot trees and mannequin parts
boot trees and mannequin limbs

representing generic lay figures or mannequins that the viewer can project onto, placing themselves in the center of this fanciful universe.

Perseus in Progress

Perseus in flight

You Are Here began as a project of Creative Capital in 2009 This accumulative installation premiered in 2013 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of Next Wave Art 
and is on view at the South Terminal Gallery at the Miami International Airport thru Spring 2016.

constellations and air travel

You Are Here at Miami International Airport

You Are Here
 now on view
Miami International Airport
South Terminal Gallery
(4th floor / Terminal H)

Stay tuned for more images from the exhibit

Side View

You Are Here title wall with images from historic celestial atlases
and installation guide

Artist's project statement, installation and in progress images

View from the floor of Terminal H / International Arrivals

Libra, Virgo, Coma Bernieces, Leo Major and Leo Minor

Hercules, Draco, Ursa Minor, Cepheus, Lynx, Ursa Major, Canes Venatici, Bootes, Corona Borealis

Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Pegasus, Andromeda, Triangulum