Seventy transparent cellophane panels are suspended from a dark ceiling along all sides of the gallery, perpendicular to the walls. Hanging freely, individual panels move in response to ambient air currents and to viewer motion. Their position against the walls and their near invisibility make the space ambiguous. The rest of the gallery is empty.
The clear panels appear to be plain, but the walls are filled with pale, leafless trees. Only when the panels sway does the viewer realize that the trees are but shadows. (The cellophane has been drawn on with transparent gel.)
Light that creates the shadow trees also bounces off the edges of the cellophane, and shimmers on the walls. Space that has already been made ambiguous, becomes even more puzzling by the spontaneous movement of panels, trees and light. The viewer becomes lost in the middle of a dreamlike forest. No real trees are there; No drawings are on the wall. But light, shadow, movement, continue to change the composition of the space.
Around the perimeter of the gallery transparent panels, with invisible gel drawings of trees, hang perpendicular to the walls. In the open space of the gallery, more clear panels hang freely. They rotate and sway, in response to ambient air currents and to viewer motion. Ink drawings of tree trunks on these panels cast long shadows on the floor. When a panel happens to turn, the trunk narrows, becoming just a line, then disappears, appearing again as the panel turns back toward the viewer. As these trees and their shadows appear and disappear, the space itself slowly opens, shifts, and becomes an abstract composition of changing light and shadow.
Forty two transparent acetate panels are invisibly suspended from the ceiling
by one filament. The panels rotate in response to ambient air currents and silent fans. When light catches a panel's edge, it casts its own reflection on walls and floor.
On the panels near the entrance, ink line drawings - writing perhaps? sound tracks? appear and disappear as each panel turns, while on walls and floor its shadow widens and narrows. Farther into the gallery the panels, moving more slowly, are blank, as if all marks have been erased.
As panels turn at different speeds, as lines appear and disappear, as light reflections and shadows bounce around the gallery, on...going....on becomes an endlessly changing three dimensional drawing.
On a white wall hundreds of clear acetate rectangles are mounted on long pins. Four
images are used repeatedly in laser prints on the acetate. The prints (subtly tinted gray, blue gray, greenish gray, purplish gray) of black and white snapshots match their shadows cast on the wall; the shadows are more visible than the acetate images.Towards the center, some of the pieces are blank.
The four images are of trees, from snapshots taken after an ice storm in 1900. Repetition has created a woods, appearing and disappearing, in front of the viewer. The space between the shadow trees and acetate images is ambiguous as well as real, and the trembling of acetate and shadow in the air brings the piece to life.
Light reflects off the acetate pieces then bounces onto the floor and adjoining wall. Sometimes the piece is this: a three dimensional light piece, that shifts with the motion of the delicate rectangles in ambient air currents. Then, light is both substance and subject.
A very thin, lithe stick, set on a lead base that contains a small, silent motor, is placed a few inches from a corner. The stick is too wobbly to stand up by itself. As it moves around exploring the wall, it makes a graphite tracing of its path. When it leaves the wall, it wavers with no support, then steadies as it reaches the wall again. It does not move evenly around its space, but hesitates or quickens its pace, depending on the wall's surface, and on air currents.
The entire gallery is not visible upon entering. Tall, skinny white sticks, rotating slowly from lead bases, turn and tap a long wall, sometimes individually, sometimes in unison. Imperfections in the wall catch them as they slide, changing their rhythm and the sounds. The elements are placed progressively closer along shorter walls, becoming louder and moving faster, leading the viewer towards the initially hidden area.
In the dim light sometimes the white sticks are invisible and the viewer watches only moving shadows explore the space, each one mapping its part of the wall.
Fifty eccentric linear configurations of wire, wood, brass and glass rise out of fifty identical lead boxes hiding silent motors. Each makes its own subtle sound determined by what it touches as it interacts with the room. Rods turn, wires tighten and twitch, glass bulbs shimmy and shiver, as some cling to the walls, some explore the floor while others shiver high in the air. There is a hushed rhythm to the random probings in the mostly silent space, as the animated appendages tap and sway, slide and twist, occasionally accompanying each other in sparse tattoo. The sounds resonate according to the dimensions of the room itself, and are experienced differently depending on the position of the viewer.
A wire gently twists and loops around a long, thin rotating stick. It is attached to a delicate glass bulb that murmurs as it shimmies and wiggles around the floor. The bulb shivers when tension makes the wire twitch.
A thin wire rises out of a brass rod on its lead base. The wire loops around itself and is prevented from uncurling by the weight of a delicate glass bulb. As the rod and wire turn, the bulb noisily bounces around the base, sometimes snagging on a corner, then twisting free to catch up with itself.
A glass bulb, balanced on its long, rotating stick makes burbling sounds as it rolls along the wall. The stick swings out in the air and back. Suddenly the bulb on the stick bounces as it hits the wall and starts to roll again.
The walls and floor of the gallery are painted dark charcoal. A false ceiling of translucent black plastic allows allows ambient light to filter through. Chalk lines match the actual structure of the room; some of the angles are skewed; the end wall is drawn a foot narrower than the actual gallery; a white cord makes the edge of a false wall, thus forcing a focus and creating greater ambiguity and depth of space. Charcoal, chalk and deep pastels are used on walls, floor and ceiling, enhancing the sense of the room being a drawing.
Three feet back from the wall a white bed frame is suspended from the ceiling by invisible filament. The spindly basswood bedframe is sketchily carved, and drawn on with chalk. It is actually a flat open piece, but made in perspective so that the viewer's perception of it is of a three dimensional piece. The perspective keeps changing: sometimes the head of the bed appears closer and one is looking down on it; sometimes the foot is closer and one sees it from the underside. It is actually hanging above eye level.
Although there is enough light in the room to see everything, upon entering from the adjacent well lit space the viewer sees nothing. It takes from three to thirty seconds to see anything. First a pinpoint of light through the ceiling appears, then a line delineating part of the bed. Gradually, more of the bed and the room outline become clearer. But the bed seems to be drawn on the wall. As one's eyes adjust, the bed moves forward, out from the wall. Most viewers become very aware of the spatial ambiguities, but few realize what are the actual dimensions of the room they are in.
In a series of brush drawings on acetate, paper, film or directly on the wall, I dip a brush in Sumi, and draw as I walk along until I reach the end of the paper or wall. I may turn around and walk back, making another line, smooth, scumbled, bouncy, ditty, pale or dark. Sometimes I continue walking back and forth, drawing up to five or six lines. The marks make visible my breathing, pace, arm flexibility, hand pressure, the size and type of brush, amount of ink on the brush, and the texture of the wall or other material.
Because of the length of any of these drawings:eight feet to twenty five feet, its entirety cannot be seen at one glance. A viewer seeing a line from a distance, must move in close to really discern the marks. He/she must walk along the drawing, as I did in making it, in order to see the whole piece.
Sometimes I roll up the drawings: condense them, leaving only part of the journey visible.
In this series, each strip of acetate rolls and convolutes, acquiring shape and depth on its way to becoming some thing. In so doing , the original drawing loses its linearity, and the passage of time it recorded, while still visible, has lost its meaning.
Sometimes the ink lines and marks bounce off the flat acetate, making a new three dimensional drawing.