To illustrate the cover of the July/August 2012 issue of Orion, our editors selected Beverly Rayner’s “Dreamlike Atmosphere,” a photograph of a globe layered with peeled and shellacked C-prints of clouds and sky. Here’s Beverly on the conception and construction of her remarkable image.
The color photographs in this artwork have been reduced to just the emulsion layer of the print; all of the paper backing has been removed. This process renders the images of clouds light and ethereal, like a thin skin. When cut and superimposed over the longitudinal and latitudinal segments of a globe of Earth, the wispy images of the sky give this representation of our world a “dreamlike atmosphere,” removed from all political boundaries and topographical references.
While this piece is meant to evoke a sense of reverie—a kind of day-dreamy pleasure—it also reveals something that nags at us, pulling us back a little from our awe at the beauty of our atmosphere. Each image segment is tinged with a yellowish edge, hinting at the not-so-dreamlike pollution that is often barely noticeable to us, yet exists over and around our heads.
Beverly Rayner has a BFA in sculpture and an MFA in photography. In her mixed media artworks she combines photographic images with all kinds of materials, fusing them into entirely new, hybrid objects. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.