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Whiteout

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file0543Nadia Hironaka
Matthew Suib
June 18-July 30, 2010
Locks Gallery,
600 Washington Square South, Philadelphia
July hours: Tues-Sat 10-6 pm

We watch film in a black box, art in white space. For the summer, the Locks Gallery has turned itself into a cool white box of reverse imagery for Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib’s video installations on the second floor of the Washington Square gallery.
These fascinating wall size installations are mostly white, mostly of the natural world. They also pay homage to great film. The west and south wall comprises a two-channel video installation called “Whiteout,” which borrows imagery from the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico and David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia.” The imagery is stark, beautiful, intentionally ambiguous. It has a sly wit. It inspires reverie of the sort Bachelard imagines in his Poetics of Space. An avalanche of snow? or sand? Sand rising, falling, a desert or moonscape? Take your pick; “Whiteout” is psychic dreamscape.

Suib and Hironaka who are married (and studied among other institutions at the University of the Arts) are interested in simulating and altering the natural world and rearranging filmic narrative, dissolving the cinematic “frame.”

“Whiteout,” has a soundtrack mixed by the artists. It is so subtle you won’t hear it unless you slow your senses down. The improvisations are performed by cellist Helena Espvall of the band Espers and Aaron Igler of Philadelphia’s Bardo Pond. Hollow fourths and fifths, low on the synthesizer; high cello lines sustained and ominous from the tape loop which repeats every 8 minutes.

The elegant Locks Gallery is 2,000 square feet upstairs: Ideally positioned for privacy and reverie are three benches to view the installations.
“The Fall” on the far east wall is a revolving projecting video image of birch woods, meant to pay homage to two Tarkovsky films, “Ivan’s Childhood” and Andrei Rublev. On the forest floor a fallen horse rolls, attempts to rise, repeats and repeats the attempt. The woods, however, are not the sacred Russian birches but a birch woods in PA, the artists’ home.

Hironaka and Suib have just completed a residency in Portland. The artists will be at the reception at the Locks Gallery Friday (7/9) at 5:30 p.m. Espvall and Igler will perform.
Downstairs, the Locks is also a beautiful white box for Thomas Chimes’s white paintings, portraits of historic and literary figures. Don’t miss them.

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Written by Lesley Valdes

July 7, 2010 at 2:14 am

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