The Studio of Eric Valosin

Monday, November 19, 2012


Over the past semester here at Montclair State University, I've been experimenting with optical negation by means of subtractive and additive color mixing; i.e. mixing projected light and painted pigment to get things to look like they're disappearing.  This was the impetus for my latest projection installation Hyalo, which actually turned out to be something quite different! (originally titled Of Unseeing: Hyalo, but changed exactly for these unexpected effects, namely that it was very un-unseen)

I began with this:  I wanted to merge the mandala form I've been using (see my previous posts, and some hence-coming...) with a rose window stained glass form (both of which originate from similar formal and theological concerns, historically).  The term hyalo - my title - is a greek word referring to glass mosaics, or, more specifically, prototypical stained glass windows.  The first projectors to use photographic positive and negative transparencies, created by two french daguerrotypists in 1848, were in fact called hyalotypes, giving a nod to stained glass as the first form of projector.  So I set out to paint a rose window that would be cancelled out by digital projection.  Upon blocking the projector, would reveal the painting underneath with their shadow.

I suppose this all is a continuation of my preoccupation with Heidegger's notion of Aletheia - truth as both revealing and concealing - and this mystically paradoxical idea of negative theology.

The window...

was spliced into to inverse fragments, that would be painted on opposing walls:

 This way, you could never get the whole vision, because your back would always face one component of the whole.  To confound this further, you can only see those pieces by concealing them in the first place.  I designed the following "room" setup, with two opposing projectors, aimed across one another, so that there was virtually no way to enter the room without obstructing one or both of them.

Come time to exhibit, my first task was to build the room itself.  I claim no style points, but given the one day I had to build this thing (and a shortage of movable walls) I'm quite pleased with my ingenuity.

moveable wall 1, with an extended support beam for the "corner" of the room

my best ceiling mount yet, complete with faux-ceiling tile, hung low so that the viewer will obstruct it.

beginning to install the tar paper walls...

a doorway in the center of the long wall, with supports mounted into the ceiling.

the finished room, dubbed "the chapel" by our critic in residence Matthew Nichols.

my two opposing projectors

moveable wall #2

projecting the image to be painted

painting it on

the effect of projecting the image on top of the painted image (shown in shadow)

working out the colors for projection in photoshop (projected onto the painted image on the wall)

Here's where things got interesting...  The image only really disappeared from the angle you see above (and ONLY that angle).  Once I stood up, I found that the "matte" acrylic paints I used actually reflected quite a bit of the projected light, resulting in an oddly ethereal, luminescent, metallic sheen.  Deciding to embrace this inherently stained glass like effect, the project therefore became something other than what I intended.  Additionally, as far as I can figure, a slight shift in ambient light also changed the colors projected in the final project.  This was the result:

It did still retain its "reveal" moment when blocked by shadow

another odd optical effect with the lights on...

...which heightened the reveal, but lessened the sublime effect of the image itself.

So I decided to play up that original incidental optical effect, masked off the edges, and produced the following!  This is ultimately what was shown in my show with Jeremy Bell, Pneuma (Breath and Soul).

Essentially, this project marks the point of divergence for two subsequent projects.  One in which I continue to try to solve the problem of reflection and get it to disappear, and another in which I continue to play up this new stained glass effect.  I'll be procuring a colorimeter from the photo lab to try to get better readings on the mixture of light and paint, and I'll try other paints as well (note the wall paint is not reflecting the same way)  It will be interesting to see what emerges!

Pneuma and Open Studios

I've got a bunch to catch up on, as I said in my last post, so I'll try to be efficient.

This past week my two person gallery exhibit in the MFA gallery with Jeremy Bell, entitled Pneuma (Breath and Spirit) went up, came down, and subsequently traveled (a whopping hundred or so yards) to make room for another show during our Open Studios.  Here's, a walkthrough video, followed by some pics!

I'll post more about the installation and my Hyalo project HERE [this will be a link shortly...]

Outside the gallery, Jeremy's

Because we can't help but re-engineer the gallery space, we divided it into 3 "rooms." Jeremy's first room.

My room, dubbed "the chapel" by classmates

Jeremy's other room, with touch sensitive lighting controlled by a sensor on the chair.  (pretend the pedestal's gone)

Originally intended as a projection negation project.  Theoretically it would have become virtually invisible, only revealed by the shadow of the viewer blocking the projected light that optically cancels the paint on the wall.  Clearly it failed at being invisible because of the paint being slightly glossy and reflecting a shimmering glare, causing it to succeed at something very different!

My latest homemade ceiling mount.  Getting a bit more elegant each time!

the opposing projector - each wall's rose window projection was an inverse of the other.

revealing by concealing

The mandala

Random QR code destination, taking you to a different site every time. (and a slowly disintegrating screen protector...)

THEN, on Friday we had Open Studios.  It was an awesome night, and thanks to all of you who came!    Jeremy and I had the task of transplanting our installation into the workshop at the other end of the building (in one afternoon).  It took a bit of reconfiguring and ingenuity (the fact that my room didn't collapse on anyone is a small miracle in itself) but it came out quite nice!

no ceiling made the install interesting...

outside my studio

inside my studio
It Is, being shown in my studio.  Stills to follow.

Our guest show featuring Jesse Bransford, Saya Woolfalk, and Sarah Walker, among others

So that's all pretty devoid of content (i.e. philosophical mumbo jumbo), but maybe that's for another post.  ...you're welcome?