The Studio of Eric Valosin

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This Show Means Tomorrow Night

Twas the night before Thesis and all through the house, not an artist was stirring (paints), not even for a house (...because I used Behr house paints... ahem... ok, nevermind)

Tomorrow is the opening of This Show Means Right Now, our MFA thesis show at Magnan Metz. After day 1 of install's series of unforseen adjustments, I was prepared for a difficult day 2. I was not left wanting.

in the window, E. Dannielle Slaughter's Fishoil performance installation, a slew of MFA recipients with pizza in their bellies, Jamie Levine's "babies," and Jay Roth's post-apocalyptic sculpture.

it started innocently enough, painting the projection after having taped it off on the wall

all painted, with the masking tape still on. projected color blocking out the painting

removing the tape
voila! Easy enough, right?...

...Well... that's where things got complicated. The lighting in the room ended up being just too bright. In calibrating the projected color so that it negates out into gray, the lightest I could make the darkest color was always still darker than I could make the lightest color. It was just way out of whack, and would not come close. So bad I couldn't even bear to take pictures of it. The lighting was the problem, so I first tried taking out the fluorescents in the back room, leaving only the spots.
 We brainstormed every possible solution, even down to sending me out to build an 11 foot wall to partition that back room and cut out the light from the fluorescents (not another Home Depot run!). With little more than 24 hours to go and still a project to complete even after any walls are to be built, I was starting to worry I would have nothing to show (at least nothing I could be proud of).

At long last it came to light (pun intended) that really the only one who had a strange, unyielding affinity for the fluorescent lights that were causing all the trouble was Andrew, our director. The rest of us, including the gallery staff, unanimously preferred only the spots. And that would pretty much be the only way to save my work. Thankfully our curator, critic in residence Matthew Nichols, talked some sense into him and the lighting all came together. Next I just had to build yet another pedestal compartment to house all the wires. Time to go home, gather more supplies and anxiously await the next day


I arrived early to build the pedestal. Last day of install, and I'd began calibrating the projection and cleaning up the space big time.

Meanwhile, my MFA cohorts were quite busy as well

Dana Hemes drilling into the floor for Marta Kepka's saline drip installation
John Vigg's drone photography

Kevin McCaffrey and Jamie Levine (and the remnants of the show prior) 
With everything in place, it should have been a piece of cake. And yet, when calibrating the projection, this is as close to grayed out as I was able to get. Acceptable in a pinch, but nowhere near what I had hoped for and have been able to accomplish in the past.

 Finally, at my wits end, I found the solution to my projection problems. Solely, I think, a result of the prayers of my wife who was receiving my frantic and pessimistic text messages for the past 2 days. Turns out I was using the wrong color setting on the projection all along. "Dynamic", though brighter, did not provide the proper color range. I should have known better, since in all my previous installations I always set it to "sRGB." Sure enough, once I did that and reworked the calibration, it all started falling into place!

Like in other projection negation installations I've done, the lighting fluctuates throughout the day, and it is calibrated to a certain privileged lighting condition (somewhere between 4 and 5 pm on a mostly sunny day in early summer, in this case) in which it most thoroughly grays out. Privileged viewing time = virtually invisible work.

And so...
I'll be sending up some similar prayers tonight for Marta's leaky mister (as in that which mists... it's not a euphemism, I swear!) and then it looks like we've got a show on our hands! (knock on wood)

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