November 27, 2009

Light Passing Through

My friend Laura McClanahan is an artist.

I missed her most recent show's opening, but wrote the closing date on my calendar. I would say that fully half of the art shows I've attended in my life I've attended on the final day. It seems that the spectre of of missing the work entirely is what finally propels a show to the top of my to-do list! Last Sunday was that day for Laura's show, and when I plaintively explained my situation to my family, they lovingly jumped in the car and joined me on a road trip to the Hunterdon Art Museum.

The work was fabulous, as I knew it would be. Laura has been using light as a kind of ally in her most recent pieces, shining or beaming it through objects of her choosing or creation in order to create photograms which capture a kind of alternate universe. These reminiscently cellular images have a taxonomy all their own, at once familiar and utterly strange, and afterwards I kept thinking about how different it is to focus on an object's translucence, when so much of what we think of when confronted with the material world has to do with the seeming solidity of the opaque.

Mr. D was particularly transfixed by the video installation, and kept crying out to us to, "Quick, look now!" as the kaleidoscopic patterns morphed before his eyes. "It's always different," he explained to us in the tone of one who understands and would like to bring the neophytes up to speed.

Here's a picture of T's favorite piece, with the video installation's reflection adding its own note to the composition. If you look closely, you can also see the back of Mr. D's head reflected in the glass near the center of the frame; his attachment to the video images is also captured.

We are less solid than we seem or feel ourselves to be. There are kinds of waves that pass right through us, sometimes without our knowing it. Artists give us the chance to catch a glimpse of the impossible, to pin the wave on the shore, if only for a moment, so that we can feel and understand ourselves in relation to it.

I'm so glad we were able to go.

(And, special bonus,
the museum is just minutes away from
the famous Clinton Station Diner!
We ignored the 50 lb. burger nonsense
and went straight for the 24 hr. breakfast menu.)


'nish said...

very nice post!

Wendy said...

i'm so very inspired.

i keep thinking about how many times a day i hear the word "look!" (or yook in satchel's case)

i'm convinced that children are our teachers.
peace, love, free...

Nancy Bea Miller said...

Lovely work! Thanks for sharing.