The Studio of Eric Valosin

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My 100th Post! This Warrants a Pilgrimage

Ladies and Gentlemen of cyberspace (and I guess those that inhabit physical space as well), I'm excited to be posting my 100th blog entry on Art:[b]logos since it began just about 2 years ago! I thought I'd better do something special for this post beyond my ordinary self-indulgent blather, so I decided to take a pilgrimage out west, in order to experience first hand something worth writing about.

My journey through the wilderness was long and hard (5 hours on a plane with an 18 month-old is on par with a trek through any desert in my book), but soon I arrived in the promised land: Orange County (That's Biblical, right?).  Ok, so I suppose the real reason for the trip was to visit my 2 month old nephew and his family, but it afforded me a great opportunity to check out some of the SoCal art scene, and I knew exactly where I'd start. I indeed felt a bit like Moses' followers arriving in the (actual) Promised Land as I stepped into the towering entryway to LACMA and retrieved up my program for the hallowed James Turrell retrospective!

As you may know Turrell is, after all, essentially equivalent to Moses as far as mystical light artists go. Having experienced Aten Reign at the Guggenheim, I was stoked to be able to explore the two buildings worth of work LACMA dedicated to this projection prophet.

The work on view spans roughly 4 decades (pictures below courtesy of google image searches, as no photography was allowed inside the exhibit), ranging from his early projection pieces...

... and prints and drawings...

... to his holography work...

... to room-sized light pieces and wall-cutout pieces...

...to the legendary Roden Crater...

... but the piece that took the cake was...

the Ganzfeld room.

As you approach the installation, you're instructed to take off your shoes and don a pair of paper medical booties to retain the pristine whiteness of the chamber. After ascending a velvety black stairway, you enter into a chamber with no discernible edges or corners, with a backlit hole cut into the far end of the room. 

You don't see the source of the light, just the light itself, shifting through blues and pinks and whites and purples. The result is an soft, modulating color that floods the room, so thick you feel like you could drink it. You know that feeling when you walk out of the shower and the steam in the bathroom is palpable? That's how the light feels!

What's even weirder is what it does to your perception. You know how video projections can have a chromatic aberration when out of alignment in which you get a red fringe on top of a figure and a blue fringe underneath? When someone walks in front of you you actually see this effect on the outline of the person, produced in real life by your eyeballs! What's more, if you walk sideways towards one of the walls, you lose all bearings and you can no longer tell where you are or how far you've walked until you suddenly feel your foot touch the gentle slope of the curved wall edge and you realize the wall is 3 inches from your nose. All you see is an infinity of color.

As if that weren't enough, when you turn around, inundated by this color, the white wall of the entry room opposite the hole that you climbed in becomes a thick, dark, floating greenish rectangle because of the after-image burned into your eyes from the color in the room!

this isn't the ganzfeld room at LACMA, but you can get a sense of what I mean.
Well worth the price of admission, the Ganzfeld room has left me with one question as a light artist: where the heck to you go from there?!

It's an utterly surreal and disorienting experience that I highly recommend to everyone. The only drawback is the time limit they place on experiencing it. Get your tickets now - the retrospective is up for a few more months.

So now I have much pondering to do. The next step for me seems to be translating my projection pieces from an interactive object of sorts, to an immersive environment. I wonder, what would be my Ganzfeld?


After rounding off my trip to LACMA with a healthy dose of Chris Burden and Calder, my pilgrimage extended to the typical tourist spots: San Diego Zoo, Santa Monica Pier, Disneyland, and the very first Trader Joe's in Pasadena (I'm a bit ashamed to say so, but being the store artist I am I felt I couldn't leave without stopping by), and lots of quality time with my new nephew and the gang (which was of course the goal in the first place).

100 blog posts down, and I feel like Turrell has given me a glimpse of a trajectory worth 1000 more posts. Shooting for the stars is one thing (for which Turrell has quite literally set the precedent, in the case of Roden Crater) and a career like his seems almost mythical. So, inspired by his mystical leadings, I'm content to set my sights a bit closer - say 3 inches in front of my nose, right about where the wall of the Ganzfeld disappears into eternity, far beyond the stars, but closer at hand than my next day in the studio.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Panel Discussion - Art and Social Media!

"The Practicing Artist and Social Media... Now" (...Again!)

This time at The Collective Art Tank
529 Bangs Ave, Asbury Park, NJ
Sat. 1/11/14
1:00 - 5:00 pm

This past November I took part in a panel discussion on Art and Social Media at the Watchung Arts Center. It garnered such a positive response that we've been asked to take the show on the road and bring this intriguing event to the crowd in Asbury Park! The Collective Art Tank will be hosting, and you won't want to miss it this time around!

Event Description:
"This informative afternoon will demystify some of the challenges facing artists today concerning social media networking and what can be done to insure a successful online presence. The tide is changing here and you may find some of the current information not only interesting but extremely important to your business....any business, not just art. Find out where it is now worth socializing and where it is not to increase your sales.
The lecture will be presented by Paul Pinkman, a practicing fine artist and the owner of Paul Pinkman Creative Design, LLC in Plainfield… a digital development company that specializes in web, social media, online video and content management systems. There will be a break after the lecture to reset the space for a panel of other experts [yours truly among them] who will discuss what to do and not do. The program will be followed by Q&A as well as time for networking with the speakers. Questions will be collected throughout the program and addressed to the panel."

Reserve your Ticket
Tickets are $15 pre-ordered, $18 at the door.
Register Here

Hope to see you there, and I hope you find it a useful event!