Tuesday, October 16, 2012

‘Around Waldo’ – Neighborhood Dualities


“Around Waldo” immediately bestows a context for the gallery show by a pair of artists, a “realist” and an “abstractionist.” Waldo is Waldo Lofts, an apartment building in downtown Jersey City, near the waterfront, and the realism was represented by photographs of this very specific part of town. This led one to consider that perhaps the abstract work represented an internal expression of the same location.


The “realist” Christopher Boyle is a photographer and was exhibiting vivid, wide-angle, color photographs of the power house/water front district of Jersey City. His images captured the jagged geometry of re-purposed industrial structures surrounded by the Newport Shopping Mall and sleek glass and steel high-rises on both sides of the river. They remind us of how all of the 20th century (and bits of both the 19th and 21st) collides in this neighborhood of our fair city. The photographs were taken from rooftops – indeed from “around Waldo,” and combine a within/ without duality. You are far enough above the ground to see the vastness of this unique collection of diverse architecture and skylines but you are always aware that you have not left the neighborhood
Erin Pasch, painter, dancer, and performance artists, was presenting her abstract paintings and a video performance/dance piece.
Her Website: erinparsch.com
Filmed on a roof top “Around Waldo” – the colors are stark and pallid— bone-gray roof top, cloudy sky – and Erin, in white, performs with a wide roll of thick white paper. The paper is bulky. Her moves are smooth and graceful, the elegance of her body makes the stiff material conform, until it gradually encompasses her and she is entirely concealed, from which she then emerges like a primordial hatchling from what has become a cocoon. Against an industrial skyline, she slides her body across the stark rooftop, an embryonic life form, not yet able to walk but still a statement of rebellion against her de-humanizing environment. The sequence of dance and performance seemed an abstract re-enactment of a birth and re-birth ritual and reminded me of Maya Deren.

The duality of the exhibit was further reinforced by the fact “Around Waldo” took place – at least during the J.C. Artists Studio Tour – in two separate, though nearby locations – the lobby of the Waldo Lofts, and at the their nearby studios on 123 First Street.
In addition to another loop of her performance piece, albeit on a smaller screen, Erin’s abstract, emotional paintings were on display.

While I was at the Studio portion of Around Waldo, a man bought one of Erin's paintings. After the happy customer left, Erin looked sad, nearly on the verge of tears.
I asked her if she was all right.

“I’m going to miss that painting. You become attached to them.”
Chris was understanding, and suggested. “Put up another one in its spot.”

Erin opened her portfolio case. It was leaning on the wall and contained several additional paintings. Her partner’s suggestion was the best solution to her emotional conflict, but I couldn’t help but wonder if her selection was based on what she thought could best sell or what she could most easily part with on that particular afternoon.


No comments:

Post a Comment