Mary Voorhees Meehan


  • MATTER II is a book continuing the exploration begun with with MATTER. In collaboration with photographers Caleb Charland, Matthew Gamber, and Bill Sullivan, and Lodret Vandret, I continued working with MATTER, the 1964 TIME Life Sciences publication. I kept the original book's subheads and folded in photographs as well as excerpts from significant texts on vision and color theory.

    I used each excerpt as a definition of a term found within it. I alphabetized these terms and ran the text throughout so that alignments between text and image occur at random. The book becomes a thesis on the science of seeing and perceiving as the reader is compelled to find meaning in adjacent text and image.
  • The cover of the book feature's a diagram lifted from the original LIFE Sciences interior: John Dalton's (1766–1844) diagram of Potassium Aluminum Sulfate, comprised of symbols of his invention, had all the correct elements but in the wrong proportions. Dalton "unearthed the ancient belief of Democritus that all matter was built up from tiny indestructible particles called atoms."
  • Text from the original 1964 book bleeds through at a few key moments:

    "'Whatever occupies space,' says the dictionary; 'that which is considered to constitute the substance of the physical universe. . . .' The earth, the seas, the breeze, the sun, the stars—everything that man surveys, can touch or feel—is matter. So is man himself. Fittingly, the very word derives from the Latin 'mater,' mother."
  • Chapter 5 in the original book: "A Deceptive Facade of Solidity"