Thriving in Place: Revital Katznelson - Assorted Desserts
18 x 12", Digital Print
The piece I called “Assorted Desserts” is a collage of three micrographs, captured on the same Petri dish at 25x magnification with incandescent light from the side. It all began with a circle of crystals that precipitated from a solution of low-sodium salt in English Afternoon Tea. This kind of circle, and the crystals within, always shows up. But then the salt started “crawling” out of the drop and precipitating in successive rings of crystals, with or without the tea pigments. Sheltering in place, I had all the time in the world to watch it happen, admire the variations on the theme, and document their beauty! “
Brief Biosketch (generic)
Dr. Revital Katznelson, an environmental scientist, uses her high-quality dissecting microscope to capture the natural beauty of tiny crystals. Her work features microscopic crystals precipitated from many of the mineral mixtures of the world, and from salt and sugar solutions created or found in the kitchen. Experiments with a variety of cameras, creative illumination, pigments, and various crystallization conditions have yielded a colorful collection of amazing images she happily shares with the world.
“Being an environmental scientist, I have used the dissecting microscope in my home lab to capture pictures of little aquatic creatures for decades. In 2013 I discovered the natural beauty of tiny crystals. A pursuit that had started unintentionally (I had left a seawater sample from Lake Merritt in the lab and came back later to find a layer of salt crystals at the bottom of the dish), had developed into a passion. I started setting up preparations of water samples from the Ocean, the Dead Sea, Mono Lake, and a variety of hot springs, and discovered a new universe of ever-changing crystals. I also discovered the hidden crystals in soy sauce, fruit juice, olive brine, solutions of salts and sugars, and many other liquids in my kitchen. Color exploded when I began adding natural pigments (e.g., beet juice) and food coloring, using a wide spectrum of light temperatures from a variety of light-sources, and applying makeshift light filters (e.g., a purple silk shirt) or standard gels. With my microscope and my cameras I have been capturing the intricate beauty of tiny crystals for all to see, and I have been fortunate to show my work in several galleries over the years.
Experimenting with new combinations while sheltering in place by myself was a true sanity-saver, particularly when I set up preparations of natural tea pigments with salt or sugar. For weeks, I was witnessing – and capturing - another galaxy of nature’s creation.
The stark beauty of these microscopic crystals motivates me to show them, and I am thrilled every time someone wants to hang my images on their wall or send a greeting card to their friends. However… I am just the documentarian and the presenter; Mother Nature is the true artist, and I hope we all give her the respect she deserves!”
RK August 2020