Parker Palmer describes breathing as a paradox we all contend with every second of everyday.  It is the basis of not being an either/or kind of person. There is not only the breathing in, but also the breathing out- an endless loop of opposites that can show us a better way to understand the entropic world we are living in, while reveling in its beauty and wonder.  We have to make room for grey areas: misunderstanding as a way to understanding, not knowing as a way to leave room for a deeper knowledge.

In Parallel Universe, Leah Piepgras unveils a new body of work that deals with how subtle shifts in a conscious state affect the relationship with the seen and unseen environment. Under a veil of cognitive science, physics, cosmology and the human time scale, she examines indefinable universal truths.

We are all made of stardust. We are as old as the stars. 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. The rest is composed of another five: potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium.  Under different heat and pressure we could have been rocks instead of people.

Consider that there are two timelines; the human timeline; one which has humans in its center, and pushes everything else outside of consideration. The other is that of the universe; one of rocks and trees and sky and earth. Parallel Universe presents the latter: a separate experience that exists in tandem with our own, found through a search for personal phenomena.

 Piepgras’ process is rooted in the basic human need to navigate what we don't understand and present an alternative reality.  All of the pieces are made of multi-tudal components and repetitive processes.  These pieces (the eyes, ears, mirrors, carbon) work together individually to dictate the final shape and installation. Crystalline forms become a variation of a thought structure, honed and purified, distilled down to a tangible manifestation.

This project has been supported by a grant from the Artist's Resource Trust.



Leah Piepgras received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 1997, and has since exhibited and performed throughout the United States.  She has work in the permanent collection of, among others, Wilmer Hale, New England Biolab and Fidelity Investments, and has been featured in Beautiful Decay, The New York Times and The Boston Globe.