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Practice Day SFO by Lise Lemeland, 2009. Oil on canvas. Image courtesy of Smithsonian Institution

Practice Day S50 by Lisa Lemeland

An aerobatic pilot and artist based in California, Lemeland superimposed images of aerobatic maneuvers over a painted aeronautical chart.

“She’s combined her own sensibilities as an artist with her skill as an aerobatic pilot,” explained Crouch. “These pilots do maneuvers in an imaginary box that they aren’t allowed to leave. That’s what she’s showing you here, the box she was flying in in that plane.”

Another Lemeland painting featured in the exhibit shows her conception of “blacking out.” “She’s playing with the same thing here: aerobatic images connected with her vision of the ground,” said Crouch. “These pilots black out doing these maneuvers—the blood’s draining out of your brain. This is her notion of what it looks like as your vision starts to tunnel.”