Get a “point of view” at the Gleason Library Art Show
by Cynthia Sorn
“Leaders 2015” by Miranda Updike. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)
Art has always been interactive and reciprocal. An artist creates and we appreciate.
The Gleason Library’s current art show, “Objects, Optics and Paint,” features installations that require viewers to look down, peer within, stand back and walk around. The four artists, Garry Harley, Miranda Updike, Harvey Nosowitz and Jon Golden have widely different styles but are united in their quest to ask us to experience a new point of view as we interact with their creations. Nosowitz and Golden are Carlisle residents, as is musician Mac Ritchie, who will be performing at the Artists’ Reception on February 26.
A bird’s eye view of the world
To get a sense of what it feels like to view artist Updike’s paintings, picture standing on an edge of a city building while peering down at the streets below. Updike has captured this sense in her series of oil on canvas “crowd paintings.” She said that her oil paintings “are viewed from the aerial perspective” and she creates her crowds by playing with the intersecting lights and shadows to show the random gathering of people in public spaces.
For example, in Updike’s “Leaders 2015” done in oil and wood, we see circles indicating the heads in a crowd near what could be a crosswalk, with other pedestrians hovering nearby. Updike explains: “My paintings represent human bonding and interacting in a hi-tech era that tends to foster isolation: People joining together to share ideas, physical space and sentiments.” She said she is “attracted to the decorative quality of clustered people or when they are haphazardly separated, like dropped gems, confetti or beads.”
Updike has included one painting from her mixed-media series of “uncertain seascapes.” In “Pink Angels II” she has what look to be large sea-eroded boulders in the foreground, while off in the horizon are rocks of diminishing size. “These works resemble uncertain seascapes of elliptical shapes that jut forward in space, then recede and end below a moody sky at the horizon line” added Updike.
Updike received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her paintings have been exhibited at a variety of places including her alma mater, design galleries and the Cambridgeport Open Studios.
An accomplished painter, some of her other works can be viewed at her website, http://www.mmupaint.com/.
“Grey Blue Composition - Silver No. 1” by Garry Harley. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)
Harley’s Op Art
What the eye sees is not what is always there. Op Art artist Garry Harley is an architect who uses his experiences to create optical art with colorful and intricate patterns and shapes. The foundations of Op Art are more than 100 years old and involve the use of repeated lines and colors to create contrast, movement and at times, illusions. How one views Harley’s art can change the impact. Stand at the end of the row of bookshelves to view “Gold Edges to a White Morning” and the image looks blended and solid. But walk up close and one sees intersecting lines which reveal delicate patterns of thin yellow, bordered by various levels of shaded grey.
Harley at times colors outside the lines to blend his computer creations with other media, as in “Grey Blue Composition – Silver No. 1.” Using mixed-media, archival pigment ink and silver leaf on the canvas, Harley creates a flow of off-set squares that appear to offer glances of billowing clouds. Adding blue and yellow to the design evokes sun and sky.
Harley has also included in the show some massive photographs of some delicate subjects. In “Nantucket Beauty” giant flowers loom over the viewer, while in “Dream of a Rose at Chateau Villandry,” the focus is the interior folds of a peach-colored rose. His photos have movement as if a stiff wind is buffeting the flowers.
Harley is a featured artist on www.op-art.co.uk. A Concord resident, he has a studio in Lowell. Other creations are posted at his website, www. garry-harley-studios.com.
“Rolodex Mutoscope” by Harvey Nosowitz. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)
Zoetrope – Human powered moving pictures
Nosowitz’s machines, which he calls “post-cinema devices,” are created from natural and found materials. Seeing the images takes cooperation from the viewer: movement is achieved through the manual manipulation of a contraption, but the viewer must look in the right place to see the images move. Nosowitz’s human-powered machines are mounted on a variety of items including old seed sowers, meat grinders and logs.
In the “Rolodex Mutoscope,” the viewer twists a crank to turn a Rolodex, which flips cards containing images of Walden Pond as seen from the Fitchburg train. Younger art connoisseurs will enjoy this part: to assist in the flipping action a rather disturbing fake finger hangs over the cards and creates the stop-action affect.
In “Meat Grinder Phenakistoscope” Nosowitz has the viewer bend down and peer through slits in a rotating disk at images of lady slippers and a lady’s face. In his artist’s statement Nosowitz explains, “There is something deeply pleasing to me about the small miracle of motion from stillness. After years of obsession with motion pictures, I have come to realize that what I love about them is just that. A shot well lit and framed, a sequence perfectly paced, a finely conceived story; I appreciate all these things but what I love is the simple act of animation conjured from the space between still frames.”
Nosowitz has a bachelor’s degree from Bard College, a Master’s in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and a JD from Northeastern University Law School. His films have been screened widely and he is the author of “The Pond Report,” a long-term series of film observances of a pond near his home in Carlisle. His pond report can be found at pondreporter.blogspot.com.
“Industrial Still Life” by Jon Golden. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)
Golden is a sculptor
of found objects
Golden likes to take old and natural things and combine them. Golden explains that his exterior installation, “Cogs n’ Cogs,” is “made of drive parts from industrial washing/tobacco drying machines, and tie-downs used to hold railroad track in position. The base is an old skid from an abandoned iron foundry in Fitchburg. Remaining stove grate parts came from the Carlisle Transfer Station!”
A more delicate sculpture, “Industrial Still Life,” can be found on the first floor. “Once upon a time,” Golden says, “components of this sculpture served as moving test forms of paper mill machinery, moving clock parts, a cooking mold, heating element, a bracket to hold textiles, liquid filters and even a laboratory test tube holder, and one decorative ash tray. All that “once was” gathered up by me from various places, kept out of the landfill, and brought together to make what you see here!” How did he get involved with structure from found objects? “I have always been fascinated with the industrial aesthetic,” he said.
Golden’s other installation is a “StereoJet Image.” This piece requires the viewer to look at the image twice: first just as it is in 2D, then, after donning a set of polarized glasses and keeping one’s head level, eyes open, look in and through the stereoscopic window to see the 3D resolution. Golden said he has been creating 3D images for over 30 years. He explains the techniques behind this creation: “In 1998, I created this image of the Frankenstein Trestle in Crawford Notch NH, using a 3D stereoscopic camera setup and Fuji 50 Velvia film. The left and right film transparencies were scanned and made in to this StereoJet, a technology based on a mid-20th century Polaroid product called a Vectograph,” he said.
For more information on Golden’s work in creating 3D products see www.stereoscopy.com/3d-concepts/.
Gallery-type reception with Carlisle performer
Seeing art after hours is a great way to view it. Following the tradition set by art galleries, the Gleason Library is holding an Artists’ Reception on Friday, February 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. Featured at the upcoming reception will be the musically talented Ritchie, who will be performing on his beautiful oud (also called an Arabic lute). Ritchie has been playing the twelve-stringed oud for ten years, has studied Turkish and Armenian music, and is a music producer with his own Carlisle studio, Possum Hall Studios (http://possumhall.com/). The reception is $10 per person, which includes two glasses of wine and light refreshments.
Art curator Andrea Urban explains about the receptions: “We see them as an opportunity to get people together for sipping some wine, viewing some art and chatting with the artists, getting a personal tour of the art with them and also having a chance to purchase art and support the library with a 20% donation from the artist.” Urban said she appreciates the ability to serve wine at the receptions. “It does create a fun gallery spirit!”
Make a reservation for the reception at www.gleasonlibrary.org/art.htm ∆