Terri Thornton, Ether(gold on gold block of text disappearing), 2008, inkjet print on gold tinted vellum, 16 x 19 ¾”, Edition of 4. Image courtesy of the artist.
Ether is a collaborative work by Frances Colpitt and Terri Thornton based on the idea of invisibility or near invisibility in art. In this collaboration, Thornton and Colpitt complicated the standard relationship between artist as creator and critic as interpreter through a process of exchange and response. Inspired by Thornton’s delicate drawings and pin-pricked words on the wall, Colpitt wrote an essay exploring related works in modern art history—those that approach invisibility but are still able to be seen and those that are fully invisible, such as Robert Barry’s Psychic Series. Colpitt’s essay in turn served as fodder for a new body of work by Thornton. In nine works on paper and a pin-pricked piece created in situ at testsite, Colpitt’s essay is visually reiterated but never fully legible.