Avant le déluge... l'art.
The proverbial calm before the storm, last night's balmy weather was a perfect counterpoint to today's miserable, cold damp of unusual thunder and rain. I blame Rick Sluben for ruining my weekend. I had planned on catching Britton and the kids shortly after 6pm at the first opening. I stopped in Easthampton to meet up with Mo and a couple of her friends. Mo was moving a little slowly due to her back problems and a recent injury and overslept a bit. To kill time, I went downstairs and had a great new flavor of ice cream at Mt. Tom Ice Cream... Secret Breakfast, vanilla ice cream with bourbon and corn flakes.
One could not have hoped for better weather for last night's exhibits. I'm rather irritated that I didn't bring my Canon, but I'm realizing more and more that the best camera is the one you have with you. The trusty iPhone has been documenting a lot of my life lately, and doing a great job.
My first stop was Open Square to see my friend, Denis Luzuriaga's exhibit SYSTEM. I got there later than I'd anticipated and just got to catch Britton and the kids for a few minutes. Blythe gave a critique of several of the paintings; quite lucid and unadulterated by art theory, just emotion and gut instinct.
I headed over to Parsons Hall Project Space, a new place to me. I was introduced to one of the owners, Kari Gatzke, at Mo's the other night. Parsons Hall defines itself as an experimental art, research and residency hub. There is exhibition space and artist studios on the first floor and live/work space on the second. I've been promised a tour of the building soon and Denis will be moving his studio here soon.
The 800 pound gorilla in the room was Chris Nelson's "Reflecting Back" a 28' x 10' shallow pool with water dripping from above and light reflecting off it onto the wall.
The water and light form constructive and destructive interference patterns on the wall. Coupled with the shadows of those viewing the exhibit, a rather haunting image is formed... a visible representation of those conscious and unconscious interactions one has with those around them.
Outside is its counterpart, "Between Space" where light is reflected off the canal onto The Canal Gallery and Studios.
From there we move to "Shelved Animals" by Deborah Simon, an installation piece of highly realistic animals. Scale is ignored, finding a giant panda, marmoset and hyena arranged together on a shelf.
An opossum hangs from a perch above and several fur seals appear to swim above.
From the website:
The animals, shown with no regard for eco-systems or taxonomy, are the fallout of man’s tendency to cherry pick what’s desirable and convenient and then quickly discarded it when it’s not. The confusion of scale and species seems to be exploding from the shelves along the walls with each species commanding the viewers’ attention in hopes of not being ignored and forgotten.
Another unusual piece was Mantis + Auto by Noah Stout, a five minute looped video of a... you guessed it, preying mantis. It sounds rather creepy and weird, but it was truly fascinating to watch. Then again, I take photos of bugs.
On the corner across the street was the first Bring Your Own Restaurant of the year. I saw most of the usual suspects.
Just down the street is Paper City Studios, four floors of open studios. Time was limited and I pretty much ran through, but hopefully I'll get a chance to go back and take a longer look. One piece that stood out for me was this:
I didn't even catch the title or name of the artist, nor does the Paper City Studios website have any info on the current exhibits.
It was an amazing night that made me want to get back in the studio. Soon enough.