Monthly Archives: September 2012

NYU Wanderings …

Algebra, Samuel Nigro InterestsWallace Stevens, Connoisseur of Chaos, Samuel Nigro interestswhy we fight, William Ury, Samuel Nigro InterestsComplex Emergencies, David Keen, Samuel Nigro InterestsComplex Emergencies, David Keen, Samuel Nigro InterestsNoam Chomsky, On Nature and Language, Samuel Nigro InterestsCharles Darwin, Evolution, Samuel Nigro InterestsPlato, The Last Days of Socrates, Samuel Nigro InterestsPsychiatry, Climate Change, Islam, Susan Sontag, Samuel Nigro InterestsAudition, Samuel Nigro InterestsSamuel Nigro, ReadingDental Anatomy, Tooth, Samuel Nigro InterestsColumbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature, Samuel Nigro InterestsWolfe, Recklessness, Chalmers, Samuel Nigro InterestsMolecular and Cellular Physiology, Gordon Fain, Samuel Nigro InterestsMolecular and Cellular Physiology, Gordon Fain, Samuel Nigro InterestsMolecular and Cellular Physiology, Gordon Fain, Samuel Nigro InterestsDickinson, The Loneliness One dare not sound, Samuel Nigro InterestsNYU Bookstore, Samuel Nigro Interests


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Columbia Browsing …

Samuel Nigro Interests, Contemporary Conflict ResolutionReal Analysis, Samuel Nigro InterestsF.G. Bailey, Samuel Nigro InterestsOptics, Samuel Nigro InterestsSamuel Nigro Interests, German DictionariesColumbia University Bookstore, Samuel Nigro InterestsColumbia Bookstore, Samuel Nigro Interests… at the beginning of the semester to see what catches  my eye.

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Featured Gallery – CRG … and the power of gestalt

Dufresne_Male_Face, CRG, PaintingCRG, DufresneDufresne_Wide_two, CRG, PaintingDufresne_Five_Faces, CRG, PaintingDufresne_Fishing, CRG, PaintingDufresne_Boat, CRG, PaintingDufresne_Two_Faces, CRG, PaintingDufresne, CRG, Painting

CRG was founded by Carla Chammas, Richard Desroche and Glenn McMillan in 1990. I have been a fan since the first time I walked into their SoHo gallery sometime in the 90’s. They are now located in a ground floor space on West 22nd Street in Chelsea, NY.
CRG has always had a strong vision that is sensitive and subtle.
The work they show often has a quiet seriousness
and a hidden humor or quirkiness
that can range from mild to dark.
I always look forward to going
to their shows.

The current show of painting by Andrea Dufresne has strengthened my fandom of CRG. The images above are mostly details because I am drawn to the dexterity and sensitivity of Dufresne’s draftsmanship, which displays a deep knowledge of her subject matter and material and color. As I looked at the paintings during the opening on Sept. 11, 2012, I was struck by how I was mentally shifting between form and paint and brush-stroke-evidence on a focused and minute level: Dufresne could overlay a few deftly placed marks on top of grander, abstract strokes for a gestalt perception of recognizable forms, for example, a human face the size of a US quarter or a figure half the length of a toothpick. This psychology to create wholeness out of disparate parts is a function of our mental architecture and is part of a family of ideas, with which I am fascinated, that I touched upon in a previous post, Optics. how do lasers work? _ and _ Riis: why two “i’s”?

The way we see influences the way we make and the way we act – all three can be manipulated, tricked and used for strategic ends, by yourself and others.
The ultimate criticism of art, in my mind, begins with Plato and his comments that Art is imitation and dangerous
for its tendency to lead people away from what is real. This is a much bigger issue not just as a point of
Greek History and of Western Philosophy and Aesthetics,
but also in its contemporary manifestations.

I am unable to deal with something so large at the moment, but it is something I struggle with in all that I do.

Although you can find the full images of Andrea Dufresne’s work at CRG’s website, I encourage you to see her work in real life, real time.
It is worth it in order to engage with her larger issues of creating multiple, overlapping spaces and playing upon historical and personal narratives.
Andrea Dufresne also has a concurrent show at Monya Rowe just down the street, so you can see a wider range of her work in one trip.

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Seven Sisters

Samuel Nigro, Drawing, Granite Wall

Samuel Nigro, Drawing, Granite WallSamuel Nigro, Drawing, Granite WallSamuel Nigro, Drawing, Granite WallSamuel Nigro, Drawing, Granite WallSamuel Nigro, Drawing, Granite WallSamuel Nigro, Drawing, Granite WallSamuel Nigro, Drawing, Granite Wall

Samuel Nigro, Sculpture, Granite WallThese drawings are rubbings from seven pieces of Granite Wall that I have designated as the sisters, which are the bottom row of the polished part of the sculpture. This is a continuation of a project that I explained in Stone – Squares – Uncertainties. I moved the sculpture this weekend to begin another drawing project.

Can you tell which sister that is – isolated – sitting atop its foundational piece?

I can … blindfolded.

Samuel Nigro, Drawing, Granite Wall, Sculpture


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Optics. how do lasers work? _ and _ Riis: why two “i’s”?

Swimming. Jacob Riis Park, Samuel NigroSamuel Nigro, Jacob Riis Beach, HorizonSamuel Nigro, Jacob Riis Beach, HorizonSamuel Nigro, Grass, HorizonSamuel Nigro, Jacob Riis Beach, Horizon, Decaying PierSamuel Nigro, Jacob Riis Beach, Horizon, Decaying PierSamuel Nigro, Jacob Riis Beach, Horizon, Decaying PierSamuel Nigro, Ocean, Horizon LineSamuel Nigro, Lifeguard, Horizon LineSamuel Nigro, Beach, Jacob Riis ParkSamuel Nigro, Jacob Riis Beach, Horizon, Decaying PierSamuel Nigro, Sand DunesSamuel Nigro, Hmm…_at_the_BeachSamuel Nigro, Jacob Riis Beach, Horizon, SurfSamuel Nigro, Optics, LasersSamuel Nigro, Riis_Park_SignSamuel Nigro, Riis_Why_Two_i'sSamuel Nigro, Horizon Line

I rode my bike to Jacob Riis Park last weekend. As I walked the beach, I had two thoughts that where worth writing down:

  1. Optics. How do lasers work?
  2. Riis: Why two “i’s”?

Optics is a catch-all term for me. It represents ideas ranging from the evolution of our eyes to the myriad of ways we augment them so that we can not only see the very small and the very far,
but also use the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum to communicate with one another
and to explore fundamental questions about who we are and what the universe is.
It is about time that I start pursuing the many thoughts I have about “optics.”
So, in that spirit, I start:

My top 5 themes of what Optics means to me:

  1. There are many types of eyes and they have evolved a number of different times on our planet. For example, our eyes and the eyes of Cephalopods evolved independently from each other, and, amazingly, function basically the same way: cornea, iris, lens, retina, optic nerve. It is called a camera eye, but doesn’t take faithful “photographs” because the brain interprets and is not a tabula rasa. Arthropods, such as insects, have compound eyes that operate very differently than our own.
  2. The eye can be viewed from multiple vantage points: the eye is an isolated organ, converting light as data to the brain, faithfully reporting the environment to the recipient, and influences how brain develops and grows; or, the eye is actually part of our brain that has pushed out to the edge of our bodies, trying to touch a very particular part of the universe – a specific wave length of electromagnetic energy, what we call visible light, a tiny, tiny sliver of the total electromagnetic spectrum; or, the eye does not see at all, the brain does the seeing – brain interprets the data, completely unconsciously, and builds a view of the surroundings according to its neural architecture.
  3. We augment our eyes in all sorts of ways. Starting in the 16th century, microscopes and telescopes have been allowing us to see smaller and smaller, and farther and farther.
  4. Other technologies harness a broader range of the electromagnetic spectrum to allow us to see and understand more. I think of the Large Hadron Collider, for example.
  5. Optics is a rich field of physics. I plan on brushing up on my college physics, if for no other reason than to learn how to embrace the distortions in my digital images … I need a better digital camera, I’m afraid … more to come.

As I walked the beach, my gaze wandered from the ocean’s horizon line upward and I thought about what Curiosity was doing on Mars
and how it has a special laser to zap rocks from about 20 feet away
and read the subsequent vapor
using the principles of spectroscopy.
Upon this though, I wrote,
“how do lasers work?”

Curiosity is really one big, roving extension of our eyes that utilizes all sorts of optics.
Its mission is to see if Mars ever had
conditions to support life.
I can’t wait.

How lasers actually work is going to be another post.
Onward to my second thought …

As I was leaving Jacob Riis Park, I saw the highway sign and thought:
what kind of name is “Riis?”
what language is that?
how do you pronounce it?
And, why are there two “i’s”?

So, the short answer is that Riis is a Danish name and is pronounced like “Reese.” Which may be good enough, but doesn’t really answer why Danish has this double “i” construction. So, there is going to be a longer answer as another post, and it will deal with linguistics and the evolution of language, specifically the formation of Indo-European languages and phonetics.

I write down thoughts that I want to remember as they occur so that I can follow up at an appropriate time,
instead of having them churn around in my mind needlessly,
or to be forgotten altogether.

One of the benefits of wandering, like I did at Jacob Riis Park, is to allow such thoughts to percolate.


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