Nature's Mark: Printing on Fiber
Wendeanne Ke'aka Stitt, Niho Mano II : To you Año Nuevo Great White, 2012, artist made kapa cloth, machine pieced machine and hand quilted, hand dyed with California black walnut hulls, 33 X 35 inches. Courtesy of Gravers Lane Gallery. Photo: Thomas Burke.
In Motion: Videos by Noah Klersfeld
Noah Klersfeld, LSC (chain-link fence, pedestrians, vehicles) 2011, Video still, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist.
Visitors to downtown Clinton and the Hunterdon Art Museum are familiar with the nearby truss bridge which has spanned the south branch of the Raritan River for the past 143 years.
But now they'll be able to see the Lowthorp Truss Bridge inside the Museum and from the unique perspective of video artist Noah Klersfeld. Klersfeld has a talent for shooting images of familiar sites and, by compressing time and space, altering the familiar into something quite different. His work will be displayed in a solo exhibition titled "In Motion: Videos by Noah Klersfeld" at the Hunterdon Art Museum beginning Sunday, May 19.
To film the bridge, Klersfeld angled his camera down and shot the corrugated steel at deck level in a way that enabled cars to flow between the camera and the deck.
"You're seeing cars between me and the bridge," Klersfeld said. "My technique is to utilize every single shape as its own video layer so I draw out and separate every single shape."
Klersfeld painstakingly cut apart and played with the timing of the footage he shot at the bridge. "I'm shooting one static image - the bridge - and subdividing all the pieces and shattering it temporally," Klersfeld said. "I don't fabricate anything. If the image doesn't move, it looks the same, and if it does move it reorganizes itself. On the bridge you end up seeing random swatches of colors which are the doors of the cars passing by."
Klersfeld's interest in video art began as an offshoot of his career as an architect. The artist attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where students are encouraged to combine architecture with media classes. After graduating, Klersfeld found what he describes as a "standard corporate architecture job that I didn't like very much." He left that position and later became an associate partner at Manhattan-based Guy Nordenson and Associates Structural Engineers, but continued taking side art projects to stretch his imagination.
"I picked up video as a way to continue to think about architecture," he said. "I started shooting some videos that dealt with space a bit, and thinking about multiple cameras and synchronization. I started writing multiple screen pieces that would synchronize with one another, and that started to feel like I was getting back into planning again, which is architectural. An architectural building also tells its own story: It has a narrative, but it's also material and spatial and temporal."
The flurry of inspiration to squeeze time into space in a video image began for Klersfeld one snowy afternoon. He was staring out his studio window at a brick wall - what he terms the "classic New York City view" - during a torrential snowstorm, watching how the snowflakes' motion affected the view of the pattern of the bricks on the building.
"It was the first time I really saw motion and geometry on top of one another," Klersfeld said. He filmed the image and subdivided it brick by brick and then shifted the timing. The end result is a brick wall that doesn't appear different, but the snow is moving in different directions on every brick.
The process altered how Klersfeld measured and saw motion. While shooting this video, he began seeing the bricks as a quarter of a second or how much time it would take for a person or image to pass by those bricks. "It's as though I'm trying to turn space into time."
Viewers can also see how patterns will affect a video in another piece in the exhibition titled "LSC." For this video, Klersfeld filmed pedestrians and cars from the opposite side of a chain-link fence near the World Trade Center memorial site. By compressing time and space, the viewer sees a colorful rhythm of images through the fence links.
The Museum exhibition, "In Motion: Videos by Noah Klersfeld," will also feature two videos from his "Passive-Aggressive Series." Klersfeld shot random footage of activity on a busy Manhattan street or a subway car and afterwards added voice-over directions to the people in the videos. His entertaining commands make it appear as though he's directing a double-decker tour bus, pedestrians waving at his camera and whatever else passes by either of the three cameras he has focused on the intersection.
With this exhibition, three video projectors will be placed on low pedestals to encourage Museum visitors to pass in front of the screen and become a part of the action.
Special Video Class
Noah Klersfeld, along with producer Jim Pruznick, will be teaching an "Intro to Film and Video" class at our children's Summer Camp from July 8-12. Children, ages 12 to 15, can learn the basic elements of film and video. To enroll, call the Museum at 908-735-8415.
Assunta Sera: Strong Attraction
Assunta Sera, Globular Clusters, 2012, Oil stick and vine charcoal on prepared paper, 42 x 102 inches, Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Shannon Leslie.
Assunta Sera's ascent to painting stars and supernovae started not in open fields or an observatory, but in one of the world's busiest transportation hubs: New York City's Grand Central Station.
Sera, whose solo exhibition "Strong Attraction" opens at the Hunterdon Art Museum May 19, recalls first stepping into the main concourse of Grand Central Station when she was nine years old. Her family had just emigrated from Italy en route to Michigan. Years later, the budding artist returned to the terminal on her way to earning a Masters' in Fine Art from New York University, and was entranced. She later worked on a series of paintings about Grand Central, which must have pleased the eyes of someone in the Mass Transit authority because Sera was selected to create a painting of the recently renovated station to be used as a poster.
"The painting is representational," Sera said. "It has an inclusion of the celestial star ceiling and a young girl staring at its magnificence in the foreground." The original painting hangs in the MTA director's office.
About a dozen years ago, Sera's art literally left the station, and she began seeking new frontiers. She devoured books on art and science, including The Tao of Physics, in a search for universal meaning and imagination.
"It was exciting and mysterious," Sera said. Along her journey, she saw Passport to the Universe at the Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium, and the voyage from Earth to the edge of the observable universe piqued her interest. "I knew I had found what I had been looking for," Sera said.
The results of her artistic journey can be viewed, for instance, in "Globular Clusters," which will be part of the "Strong Attraction" exhibition. The piece is a large paper drawing, inspired by matter that gathers into a cluster. Supernovae explode, pushing matter everywhere, and once it settles, attraction begins. "Matter agglomerates in space," Sera said, discussing the work. "Movement through space and time in a cosmic void set the framework for attracting, creating and destroying."
Through swirling forms, Sera asks viewers to see the universe as an abstract, ever-moving pattern that continues beyond visible borders.
Sera creates her work using oil sticks, preferring to draw with them and to mix different sized portions of oil stick and galkyd lite (a fast-drying, low-viscosity fluid). She'll mix multiple colors until arriving at a desired hue. "I always work with paper or canvas hanging on a studio wall, unless I'm working at home on a small drawing," Sera said. "Paint is applied with a brush or directly with the oil stick. I love the luminosity and translucency of color mixed with wax."
The opening reception for "Strong Attraction," which is free to all, will be Sunday, May 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. The exhibition closes June 30.
"Making marks on paper or canvas through an intuitive approach guides me to follow my interests and discover the known and the unknown," Sera said. "Drawing and painting is my joy."