Category Archives: Featured Art Space

The Three Body Problem and the Appropriation of Images …

Enceladus Geysers, Samuel Nigro Saturn, Samuel NigroThe Sun, Samuel NigroComet Tempel 1 After Projectile Impact, Samuel NigroClouds over Senegal and Mali, Samuel Nigro

At the end of January, I went to the opening of Michael Benson at Hasted Kraeutler, 537 West 24th Street, New York, NY.
The show was a series of large digital prints that he created from the thousands of images sent back to us by probes
we’ve launched into the solar system to answer various scientific questions about the nature
of our planetary neighbors. From the press release, Benson culled the images
taken by “the Cassini Saturn orbiter, the intrepid Mars rovers
Spirit and Opportunity, and the Earth-orbiting
Solar Dynamics Observatory.”

I share Benson’s fascination, and above you’ll find my own culling of his images… You can cull your own set by going to
NASA’s Cassini site, Mars Rover site or the Solar Dynamics Observatory site
or just do a Google Image Search.

I had two over-riding thoughts (beyond the AWE inspired by what lies beyond our own atmosphere)
as I wandered through the show during the opening
and again when I went back for
a second look:

First, I thought of an earlier, and seeming unrelated, lecture I blogged about earlier in Happy Thanksgiving and Gratitude List of 12. Keith Wilson lectured about the collection of Charles Lang Freer’s Buddhist Scultpure from China. He posed the question: At what point does an object of religious devotion become an object of just aesthetic interest? You can ask a similar question about scientific data: at what point, does it become just an object we gaze at for our own aesthetic need?

Second, I have followed the Mars rovers and the Cassini Spacecraft, and I’m not sure how much Benson’s images tell us about what these sophisticated machines have already given us and what their potential is. For example, it is because of the Cassini Spacecraft that we are learning just how incredibly complicated Saturn’s rings are.  There are large masses (as large as and larger than houses and trucks) that move in and out the rings and some of which sweep large portions of the debris and grow and change in size, shape and trajectory.

What the show does do is give us a vision of Michael Benson, and it is heartening to read that he works diligently with scientists as he makes his composite images
so as to be as accurate as possible. So, to Benson’s credit, it feels like he is trying to give us a view as to what it may be like
if we were actually there – floating in front of the Sun, trekking around Mars, or about to sail through Saturn’s rings.
These are things I think about, and find
(in the non-pop-cultural,
non-trivial use
of the term) AWESOME.

Michael Benson and I share the same interest in the line between and the intersection of art and science.

The very next day after the opening, I happened upon the Dynamical Systems Seminar at the Courant Institute by Eugene Gutkin, called The Outer Billiard Map, and I was enthralled by the connection between this and Benson’s show.

WHAT possibly could be the connection between these two experiences!?! you may wonder.
The quick answer is the Three Body Problem.
But, first, I need to explain
what an “Outer Billiard”
problem is.

Imagine billiard balls bouncing around a pool table, hitting each other in a chaotic fashion. The study of Inner Billiards is the study of the physics of this kind of movement. Now, imagine a solid stationary object in the middle of the pool table with billiard balls bouncing around and off of this stationary object. The study of the physics of these kinds of interactions is termed an Outer Billiard problem.

NOW, imagine the stationary object is a large planet or similar galactic object and the billiard balls are satellites or even beams of light… and that is the connection between the gallery show and the seminar. I reveled in the connections.

Billiard Balls flying around a pool table is pretty complicated motion, so to simplify we break it down. The two-body problem (the moon orbiting the earth, for example) is straightforward in terms of classical mechanics and gravity. Add a third body and it gets very complicated, and is, in fact, an old problem that we still only have approximations for. Sir Issac Newton formulated and studied all these issues.

However, we know enough about this motion to not only send spacecraft to various parts of our solar system, but also to infer the existence of other planets (and their sizes!) in remote parts of the galaxy that may even resemble Earth!

This is definitely fun to think about!

Outer Billiard Map_Eugene Gutkin, Samuel Nigro

4 Comments

Filed under Astronomy, Featured ..., Featured Art Space, Math

Happy Thanksgiving and Gratitude List of 12

In the United States, yesterday was Thanksgiving – a time where Americans meet over a meal for fellowship, connection and community.
I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving – and I hope everyone can find something to be grateful for.

It’s been a few weeks since I posted, because I’ve been planning a 6-month trip out of the country for perhaps the largest art project I’ve ever done.
I’m not ready to make it public, but stay tuned. I’ll announce soon, and if you want insider info:
join my mailing list, http://eepurl.com/norTf
and be sure to follow this blog
so you can follow
my progress.

This post is about gratitude. I’ve done so much over the last few months and I feel grateful for all that has transpired and I’ll like to share some of it with you.
In keeping with the main purpose of this blog, my list of 12 items below is a small window into some of what I’ve been curious about.
Make sure you go all the way to the end, because there’s a clue to my 6-month project that I’ll announce soon…

Can you guess what I’ll be doing soon?

Rachel Uffner GalleryRachel Uffner Gallery1. Opening – Anya Kielar: WOMEN; Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York, NY.

Rachel Uffner Gallery is a great gallery in the Lower Eastside and I am always amazed by the amount of art
that she gets into such a small space … and it always looks good.
.

Global Attractor and Messoud Efendiev2. Attended – Finite and infinite dimensional attractors for porous medium equations, Messoud Efendiev; ANALYSIS SEMINAR, Courant Institute, NYU.

Part of Prof. Efendiev’s lecture set out to show how you know whether a global attractor, a concept in chaos theory, was unique.
He pointed out – with great enthusiasm – that you first have to prove its existence! awesome, just awesome.
.

Teresita Fernandez3. Opening – Teresita Fernandez: Night Writing; Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, NY.

Like the simplicity … fan.
.

Bryan Osbrun painting4. Opening – Bryan Osburn; Jason McCoy Gallery, New York, NY.

I’ve followed Bryan’s work for years and his painting has grown and changed in wonderful ways!
.

The Kitchen5. Attended – The Kitchen L.A.B.: Shannon Jackson, Elad Lassry, Tere O’Connor and Lynne Tillman; The Kitchen, New York, NY.

A discussion about the perils of understanding one’s present moment and not being subject to forces of objectification, intellectual tyranny and the mediated presence. My gloss: How can you express a unique presence? How can you describe it? How can you know it? The presenters made some post-modern moves and expressed the way they each dealt with these issues in their own art practice. All very slippery stuff … stuff I struggle with in my own art.
.

Alan Weinstein6. Attended – Microlocal analysis over the Maslov cycle, Alan Weinstein; Geometric Analysis and Topology Seminar, Courant Institute, NYU.

This lecture just blew me out of the water. The cutting edge of pure mathematics: You don’t get more abstract than this!
Will tackle this lecture in another post.
.

Samuel Nigro Cardboard Volume7. Made a bunch of these. They are cardboard volumes, 88 x 20 x 20” representing a volume of granite that would weigh 2 tons. You’ll see more of these soon.
.

Mark Dagley Red and Black Triangle

8. Opening – Mark Dagley: Structural Solutions; Minus Space, Brooklyn, NY.

One reason I really like Minus Space is because of its minimalist sensibility. I love this red and black painting.
The gallery is in my neighborhood – dumbo, Brooklyn, NY – right down the street from my studio, really.
The weird thing is that late one afternoon I received an email announcing a new post
of a blog I follow: http://fortheloveofnike.com/2012/09/28/classic-with-a-twist-of-quirky/

I had a quick look, and left my studio to attend some openings in the neighborhood and walked directly to Minus Space – and directly in front of this black and red painting. I couldn’t NOT make the connection!? I couldn’t make this up: Weird, Just weird … and non-rational.
.

Lucas Caleb Rooney Zara Aina: Share a Life

9. Met – Lucas Caleb Rooney, founder of Zara Aina: Share Life

Lucas is working on an amazing project, where he is pairing theater actors from America with children from Madgascar so both groups can connect, share their experiences and find a new outlet to tell their stories. The goal is to allow these children to develop theatrical performances as a mode of communication about their difficult upbringings.

Zara Aina: Share Life is having its inaugural benefit on Nov. 26th. Have a look at the site and buy a ticket. I’ll post more information soon!
.

Chinese Buddhist Sculpture in the West

10. Attended – Chinese Buddhist Sculpture in the West: Charles Lang Freer and the Xiangtangshan Cave Chapels, Presented by Keith Wilson, The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art; The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU.

A lecture about the reconstruction of a Buddhist cave, built 1500 years ago in Northern China, and musings about how religious icons become objects of aesthetic displays.
.

Hurricane Sandy dumbo

11. Superstorm Sandy and The Election for the President of the United States of America.

These two events kept me busy, and they are related. Much has been said about both, and many pictures taken.
I’ll just add: We are, most likely, in a new climate state.
.

Jesse Bercowetz & Rathin Barman12. Met – My friend and sculptor Jesse Bercowetz introduced me to Rathin Barman, a sculptor from Calcutta, India.

.
.
And finally, Thanksgiving:

Samuel Nigro thanksgiving

Enhanced by Zemanta

4 Comments

Filed under Featured ..., Featured Art Space, Featured Artist, Featured Thinker, Images, Sculpture

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Featured ..., Featured Art Space, Painting