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Nimbi and Penumbrae


Dumbo Arts Center (Washington Street)
30 Washington Street, 718-694-0831
July 23 - September 18, 2005
Reception: Saturday, July 23, 6 - 9 PM
Web Site

Nimbus (plural nimbi) refers simultaneously to the meteorological rain bearing cloud and the spiritual halo or aura of light surrounding a saint or holy being. In physics, penumbra is the space between perfect light and perfect shadow, an indistinct area of uncertainty and lack of clarity. Using photography, video, painting, sculpture and installation, the artists in Nimbi and Penumbrae explore the realm of the undefined and elusive. Using literal motifs or allegorical treatment, the artists in this exhibition leave us with questions unanswered; the stuff that mythology is made of.

Claude Saccaro’s paintings of smoke clouds from exploded bombs are suspended in time and space. Deenvironmentalized and without context, the images leave a scent of destruction and a sense of the sublime. Referencing ancient symbology and visual archetypes, Tina West conjures mythic images of quiet but dark reflection.

Through exposures timed to the length of a meditative sitting, Junsik Shin’s Buddhist monks become ephemeral figures of spiritual radiance, void of facial features or even distinct edges, save for the grounded base of the body. The photographs illustrate the disquietude of the physical body and the unassailable glow of the compassionate heart.

Valerie Hallier’s video stills of surveyed street activity are enlarged to become chiaroscuro narratives seeking archetypes within the most ordinary human affairs. Alternately, Jonathan Podwil evokes the dark drama of America’s Camelot with his shadowy, filmic paintings of the JFK assassination.

Close inspection reveals little when viewing Davide Cantoni’s “White Paintings.” The paintings, derived from news photographs, reveal an image when viewed in a certain light or at a distance. Shadow and highlight are discernible only through the relationship of layers of reflective, opaque and transparent white. Also playing with the seen and unseen, Kohei Nawa’s constructions appear and dissolve into nothing as the viewer moves around them.

Made using a digital camera with a pinhole attachment, Terry Towery’s photographs address intersection of digital technology and historical process resulting in a multi-layered conceptual approach to the pictorialist image.

Don Salubayba utilizes shadow as his medium. Salubayba’s work references the wayang kulit tradition of central Indonesia, whereby stylized shadow puppets impart the wisdom of folk tales, epic myths and morality plays. Liza McConnell illuminates the mundane and transforms (dac)’s utility closet into an undulating landscape with a site-specific projection.

Related blog post: James Wagner
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