Finding the artist behind the flower was easy enough. Jennifer Chenoweth is the first one listed on the plaque next to the piece.
The contemporary artist created it as part of her XYZ Atlas project, which mapped Austin’s “collective experiences.”
The idea is to represent a kind of emotional wholeness, she says. It came about out of frustration, really. Chenoweth said she had a hard time dealing with much of the negativity in the world. Disasters. Tragedy. Violence.
But through this work – and other pieces in her XYZ Atlas project – she tried to express something that reflected the spectrum of emotions. The good and the bad. The dark and the light.
“This was a way for me to kind of like, get that in my gut,” Chenoweth says, “and to understand that there really is beauty in all of it, even if there is horror in some of it.”
“So it’s a way to embrace an idea that your life is actually a whole flower of experience,” she says.
The colorful tiles in Dance of the Cosmos – and this idea of a “whole flower” of emotional experience – comes back to another preoccupation of Chenoweth’s.
“I’m really interested in a psychological theory of emotional wholeness created by Robert Plutchik in 1980,” she says. “And he drew a diagram using words about how your emotions are connected and relational.”