Oculus: Emerson / Beebe (de Leon / Osceola)

Left top: 75 gallon aquarium, water, oranges and coral limestone.

Left bottom: 75 gallon aquarium, water and cypress bark.

Right: Oculus: Emerson/Beebe (de Leon/Osceola), 6 ft dia., steel, glass misting system, 75 gallon aquarium containing: black water from the Loxahatchee River, FL.
background image: Gradient (Biscayne Giant)

Oculus: Emerson/Beebe (de Leon/Osceola), is shown Installed in the one person exhibition, The Rising Sea: Images and Constructions from South Florida and Other Selected Works, 1998 along with three tanks of natural and synthesized water from the Florida landscape. The tank containing water, oranges and coral limestone, refers to the acidic (carbonic acid) water of much of Florida's aquifer, reponsible for Florida's extensive network of underground caves and karst formations. The tank with water and cypress bark refers to the "black water" flowing in many surface streams in Florida, made acidic (humic acid) and darkened by the decay of organic vegetation in the region's sub-tropical envionment, and is an artificial version of the actual black water from the Loxahatchee River,operative in Oculus: Emerson/Beebee (de Leon/Osceola)'s misting system and forming the piece's symbolic "vitreous humor."

The original work, Oculus: Emerson/Beebe, No. 1, from which
Oculus: Emerson/Beebe (de Leon/Osceola) is derived, refered to the transcendentalist philosophy of Ralph W. Emerson and the vision of a transparent eyeball as well as the deep sea diving apparatus of William Beebe. This version extends the issues of perception, sublime and human intervention in the Florida landscape through references to Ponce de Leon and the Seminole chief Osceola, and the use of materials from the Florida terrain.


Exhibition essay by Robert Morgan.