Myrrh doing marbled paper, 1990, as part of her investigation of fluid flow patterns.

Myrrh doing marbled paper, 1990, as part of her investigation of fluid flow patterns.

Myrrh’s Artist Statement

Myrrh grew up around geologists, married a physicist, and now has a son who is a molecular biologist. This has given her a sense of wonder at the intricacy of the world of atoms and cells on the one hand, and the majesty of the earth’s dynamic surface and the depths of space on the other. Early in her career, she resolved to make this a major theme in her work.

In 1981, she gathered around her a few artists who shared her interests together with visual- minded people from the computer world to form a group, YLEM: Artists Using Science and Technology. This became a vehicle for people to share new ideas in science and computer graphics (then an exciting new field). It was also a way for Myrrh to become extremely well- informed, finding new ideas for her paintings! This group was active until 2009

She found abstractions in scientific images, and this led her into a study of patterns in nature. In them, she discovered underlying mathematics, and patterns of growth and development. To her, it was reassuring that underlying all the turmoil of the visible world are ordering principles that remain constant. Her acute interest in nature’s patterns informs how she paints.

Her studies, and her contacts with researchers through YLEM, led to her series of large round paintings, Essential Mysteries. In it, she explores questions that scientists explore but never finally answer, like “How do brains imagine?”

Another facet of her work has grown out of her work with people. She leads a Buddhist medi- tation group. Through her Quaker congregation she has become involved with people seek- ing political asylum in the U.S., and with community development projects in El Salvador and Haiti. She ponders war and peace, wealth and poverty, and these have become the subjects of her cartoons and some of her art. She has achieved some notoriety for her portraits of conspir- ators during the Watergate and Iran-Contra Hearings.

Looking over her career the last forty-six years, she is struck by how much more we know than we did then: How many elementary particles there are in the atom that we never guessed were there! Neutrinos! Quarks! Higgs bosons! And who would have guessed that perhaps a hundred billion galaxies inhabit in the universe?

Yet, reading the sacred books of various religions, from the I Ching to the Bible, she is struck by how similar the human problems are to those millennia ago, and how ancient wisdom is still helpful. So little have we changed!