The Studio of Eric Valosin

Monday, October 27, 2014


Eric Valosin

Sarly Interfaith Gallery
Andover Newton 
Theological School
November 2 - December 31, 2014
Reception: Wednesday, 
November 5, 6-8 pm

Without_Within features site specific installations using light, projection and interactive new media, as well as two-dimensional works. These projects reflect the artist's desire to blend old and new media to transform the viewer's perception of a space and immerse the viewer in a participatory, meditative/contemplative environment. The exhibition takes advantage of the Sarly Gallery's architecture to ruminate on themes of interiority-exteriority, and the roles of various mediators for this experience.

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Accidental Studio Day with a Sufi Master

In a couple weeks I have an exhibition opening at Andover Newton Theological School's Sarly Gallery, just outside Boston. I certainly didn't expect my impromptu weekend trip to culminate in nearly receiving a Sufi name!

I'd been preparing for this exhibition largely off site, 190 miles away. After visiting in the summer to take some meticulous and extensive measurements and photographs, I was able to make a mockup of the space in Google Sketchup, and largely plan my installation virtually.

A very eccentric space... with a lot of windows!

my Sketchup model

This allowed me to eventually test out some projection configurations and plot out my installation. I decided to capitalize on the many windows by using them to ruminate on themes of interiority/exteriority. The project would include an interactive projection that would literally bring the viewers into the cubby-hole window spaces, conflating the silhouettes of viewers in different locations in the room into one space that is both interior and exterior (faux exterior windows, frosted over so you can't see out) and also repeated inward and backward in perspective as if reflected by a series of two-way mirrors (I'm developing some other projects using those as well, but that's a story for another day). 

an example of one of the interactive window projections
...which eventually translated into studio mock ups, projecting into faux (faux) windows. (can you have doubly fake windows?)

I also plan to use theater gels to turn the square exterior windows into a sort of pixelated stained glass window. My hope is to light them in such a way that during the day the light from outside brings the color into the room, and at night the color is projected out into the courtyard beyond. The colors themselves will all relate to complementary color schemes, playing on the negation of light and coloration that happens when mixing complements.

a sketch of a possible window configuration
All of this, I hope, will amount to an immersive, interactive experience that will not only physically merge the interior and exterior, but also provide a meditative space in which one can mystically merge interiority and exteriority, with the architectural space and technology inside as mediators.

My proposed title for the show, Without_Within reflects this interplay between the interior and exterior, while referring to the mystic notion of interiority as a path to ultimately (paradoxically) lose the self entirely (being "without the within"). The underscore is an a-grammatical way to relate the two words, leaving all grammatical interpretations open, and also harkening to the contemporary tech language of file naming and hashtags.

I came to a point where I needed to test this out in the space... 

So I traveled up to Massachusetts today to test out some parts if my upcoming installation in the gallery space. When I arrived, much to my (and the gallery director's) surprise, we found the gallery had been converted into a gift shop for what turned out to be a weekend long convention of Sufi mystics!

Inconvenient as it was for my installation efforts, I ended up meeting a Sufi mandala painter, and we naturally ended up getting along very well and she invited me to a presentation that evening.

The presentation turned out to be a message and reading via skype with a renouned Sufi perfect master! I can only describe it as a Sufi version of a sermon and alter call, complete with a crowd of new devotees flocking in front of the computer and projection screen for a blessing! And what's more, the message he delivered was entirely about Mary and Jesus, and how we need to adopt the teachings of Jesus, being wary of those who claim to be his followers but don't live by his example! The Q&A to follow revolved around the second coming of Christ and the ensuing unification when Jesus and a Muslim counterpart would weed out the bad theologies of each respective sect of the 3 Abrahamic traditions (which echoes my knowledge of the motives of Meister Eckhart's teacher, Albert the Great in finding a unifying mystical theology)! It was very weird to listen as he called forward any who wanted to commit themselves to "the promise," knowing that at the end it would technically culminate in a conversion to Islam and reception of a Sufi name, yet thinking that everything they were promising was something I already believed as a Christian!

My mind is still turning this one over....

But at least for now I'll let all this mystical activity swirl around and soak into the atmosphere surrounding my impending installation! Looking forward to getting this all nailed down!