• States in the Other World

    Date posted: January 28, 2009 Author: jolanta
    In Ethereal Minds, NY Arts Beijing Space’s recent group exhibition of the NY Arts Residency program artists, Francisco Bustamante Gubbins, Bryce Hudson, Peter Mathias, Leah Oates, and Pierre St-Jacques presented a collection of their works and works-in-progress, all of which signaled diverse approaches to the notion of “ethereality.” Chilean artist, Francisco Bustamante Gubbins usually creates large-scale diffuse abstract compositions that employ innovative media combinations such as oil, pigment, resin, and gold leaf. Bringing to mind nature, landscapes, and celestial states, here he
    presented a lovely graphite-on-paper work-in-progress, depicting a
    plane of undulating forms executed through exquisite line work and mark
    making. In the end, his work brought to mind an airy and spiritual
    interpretation of the notion of “the ethereal state.”
    Image

    Betty Lin

    Image
    Courtesy of the artist.

    In Ethereal Minds, NY Arts Beijing Space’s recent group exhibition of the NY Arts Residency program artists, Francisco Bustamante Gubbins, Bryce Hudson, Peter Mathias, Leah Oates, and Pierre St-Jacques presented a collection of their works and works-in-progress, all of which signaled diverse approaches to the notion of “ethereality.”

    Chilean artist, Francisco Bustamante Gubbins usually creates large-scale diffuse abstract compositions that employ innovative media combinations such as oil, pigment, resin, and gold leaf. Bringing to mind nature, landscapes, and celestial states, here he presented a lovely graphite-on-paper work-in-progress, depicting a plane of undulating forms executed through exquisite line work and mark making. In the end, his work brought to mind an airy and spiritual interpretation of the notion of “the ethereal state.”

    Like Gubbins, multimedia artist Bryce Hudson explored elegance, delicacy, and beauty. His Holding Pattern series, a series of photo-based prints that he developed while completing his residency, depicts frontal portraits of attractive young women, over which he superimposed monochromatic decorative patterns. As a commentary on femininity and beauty, as well as the obfuscation of identity and the objectification of women, Hudson effectively tempers the notion of “ethereal beauty” by showing how beauty can also be a constraint.

    Representing something of a cross between the work of Salvador Dali and the aesthetics of the Star Wars movies, New Zealand-based artist Peter Mathias’ work confronts issues of identity, but in this case, the role of the individual in relationship to society. Depicting images of alien-like geometric forms suspended over realist desert landscapes, he relies on a Surrealist idiom to balance the familiar and the unknown. In contrast to the other artists in the show, Mathias conceptualizes “ethereality” as a dream-like alien world.

    Like Mathias, New York-based photographer, Leah Oates approaches Surrealism, but in a distinctly divergent manner. She is interested in capturing through her images the notion of transitory spaces. Using an ultra-slow shutter speed, she captures blurred images that merge the real with the surreal, resulting in surprising and arresting images. Almost like stills from a 16 mm film, her work is fresh and tactile. In Oates’ work “the ethereal” references memories and dreams, always there, but never quite accessible.

    New York-based artist, Pierre St-Jacques’s conceptual video-based work is concerned with modes of perception. He focuses on the physical structures that we create to organize our world, and the psychological structures that we imagine in order to understand and navigate it. His current project, Hidden Place for Fragile Things, an in-progress, three-channel video piece, tells the story of a family who take several strangers into their home, and the psychological turmoil that ensues. For St-Jacques “ethereality” is interpreted as longed-for psychological states that ultimately, are never attained.

    Through this striking and diverse exhibition of resident artists, many interpretations of “ethereality” were invoked—from the surreal and magical, to the wistful and nostalgic—all suggesting innovative and unique perspectives on aesthetics, the spiritual, and the beautiful in art.

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