Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Light from Behind the Screen

For Milton (2011) by Carrie Seid

The World But Seems to Be

The world but seems to be
yet is nothing more
than a line drawn
between light and shadow.
Decipher the message
of this dream-script
and learn to distinguish time
from Eternity.

The Lora Schlesinger Gallery is currently showing an exhibition of Carrie Seid's artwork, entitled "Animal and Mineral". The works are somewhere between paintings and sculptures. In essence, they are aluminum boxes with one side left open. Over this opening, a silk screen is stretched and treated for translucency. Within the box, divisions and compartments are defined with aluminum sectionals.

The aluminum box is hung like a picture, with the silk side facing the viewer. As light hits the work, the silk is revealed like a typical abstract painting. However, because of its translucency, the light passes through to reveal the structural elements beneath the silk surface and reflect off the polished metal. This reflection is enhanced by the application of mylar within the box. The end result is that there appears to be an inner luminosity within the box that acts as a "back lighting" to the silk screen.

It's a compelling exhibit. The play of light and shadow over and beneath the flat silk screen creates an enthralling sense of translucent space. It's a dynamic effect, changing with the movements of the viewer or the positioning of the light sources. And it is this quality of dynamism that gives the show its title. When you stand still and look at these works, there is a orderly and petrified feel to the image upon the screen, like a gemstone or a piece of amber. But when you view it while moving, the illuminated curves and shadowy contours rotate and flow like a living, biomorphic form.

Bittersweet (2009) by Carrie Seid

These ambiguities of animal or mineral, shadow or light, underneath or on the surface, are the heart of this aesthetic conflict. To get all artsy, these works contain an inherent Apollonian/Dionysian dialectic.

The work that best exemplifies this Apollonian and Dionysian conflict is Blue Division. In the upper half, there is a clear blue cabochon form with a steady luminescence and clarity. In the bottom, the cabochon is occluded and its color is adulterated. But as you change your position in regards to the light sources and the angle of the screen, the upper can become obscure while the bottom reflects a radiance behind its darkened veil. It's as if the traits of each half are bleeding into the other.

Blue Division (2011) by Carrie Seid

Here's a vid of Carrie Seid discussing her works:

In any case, the images in this post don't do the artwork justice. I've tried to describe them as best as I could but these really need to be viewed in person to be fully appreciated. Therefore, I highly recommend taking a trip to Bergamont Station to see them for yourself. And since the show runs until July 30, you've got a whole month to make the trip.

Here is a link to the Lora Schlesinger Gallery website.

Here's a link to Carrie Seid's website.

And here's Fakhruddin 'Iraqi's Wikipedia page.


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