Opening Reception, with snacks and drinks Saturday, June 2 from 5-8pm
Many Layered Moments is an exhibition of temporal landscape works by Katie M. Westmoreland and Michelle Zassenhaus. The show consists of a light filtering window installation, a canopy of flowing textile paintings, and long exposure photographs of the coast of New York City.
The upper window installation, Sift/Reflect, by Westmoreland, softens the light streaming in through the boathouse windows and suggests the presence of nature. Westmoreland created the pattern from a large fabric painting made under an oak tree canopy in an upstate New York forest. As sunlight streams in through the windows, the rectilinear shapes cascading throughout the boathouse are filled with the dappled patterns of light filtering through leaves. This transplanted landscape softens the industrial environment with layers of action (sifting, reflecting, filtering); a visual metaphor for the revitalization of the canal itself.
Hanging above the canoes is a canopy of flowing fabric paintings that intercept the light streaming through the window installation. Westmoreland created the paintings during hikes through the Hudson River Valley and around Brooklyn. Hung from the ceiling, the paintings mimic the tree canopies the paintings were made beneath and the flowing water of the canal. Westmoreland paints the light and shadows that move through a place, in collaboration with the natural environment in time. She seeks moments when the environment is dynamically transformed by light and then embodies the feeling through materials and marks. Westmoreland paints on semi-translucent, tinted fabric in colors chosen to match the atmospheric light of the place. The fabric, treated like a curtain, is both a veil and a surface – both sides are painted. Westmoreland uses photographic materials, such as cyanotype solution and liquid emulsion, so the artwork is responsive to the surrounding light. The painted image is influenced by the clouds in the sky that may momentarily obscure the sun, the rotation of the Earth that causes the shadows to shift and stretch, the breeze moving the leaves and the fabric, and the pace at which she sees and traces each light or shadow shape.
On the concrete walls of the boathouse, Zassenhaus presents a study of the coastline of New York City. Curious about what lay at the city’s periphery, Zassenhaus became seduced by the unexpected quiet found in the Rockaway Peninsula – a 10-mile stretch of pristine beach within the city limits. The resulting series, titled City Meets Sea, is presented in this show as a series of images which, hung together, unify into one continuous horizon line, comprised of individual “meditations” on particular places and times along the coast. Zassenhaus’ work is a nod to time on two dimensions. The images, created with a a large-format “pinhole” camera – a wooden box the end of which 4x5” film is inserted, require long exposures to light, resulting in images representing several seconds to minutes for those taken during the day, and nighttime images representing up to 10 hours compressed into a single frame. In leveraging long exposures, Zassenhaus notes that “what’s fleeting isn’t captured, or is captured in a ghostly way” as in the human figures which at times are present – suggesting the impermanence of the humans relative to the landscape. On another dimension, the linear presentation of daytime shots interspersed with evening images also suggests the rhythm of days, creating the illusion that the viewer is experiencing the passing of several days of a single scene as they move from one end of the show to another. Zassenhaus’ work is both a study of what she considers the “signature” of specific moments and spaces at the water’s edge, and also a meditation on the surprising serenity nature offers at the periphery of a city filled with the things of people.
The works in Many Layered Moments are two artists’ experiences of nature in relation to the city. Both Westmoreland and Zassenhaus harness the inspiring qualities of light and play with the elasticity of time. The artists bring their work together in the unique setting of the Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse to blur the line between the urban and natural, and to inspire the exploration of a multitude of ways of being present within the complex landscape. How does the environment around us look if we slow down, if we rush? What do we see when we weave together a sequence of fleeting moments? What is our position in the landscape?
KATIE M. WESTMORELAND (b. 1990) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. In 2012, she earned a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin and attended Columbia University’s Advanced Summer Painting Intensive. Westmoreland’s work has been exhibited across the United States, most recently at The Sotheby's Institute of Art and Hello Studio (San Antonio). She was an artist in residence at Can Serrat (El Bruc, Barcelona) and Otto’s Abode (Adirondacks) who also hosted a solo exhibition and continue to maintain two site specific outdoor works. Her mural Oak Echo is on view in Red Hook and was commissioned by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate Policy and Emergency Management. Wave Hill will host a solo exhibition in the Sunroom Project Space opening July 1, 2018.
MICHELLE ZASSENHAUS (b. 1974) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts. Her photographs have been exhibited across the United States, most recently in a debut solo show presented by Rockaway Artists Alliance. Her work has been recognized by Photo District News, L’Œil de la Photographie, and Don’t Take Pictures.
Attendance is free to view the artwork on display and participate in discussions about the Gowanus Canal with a Dredgers member or have a conversation with the artists about their works on display. Are you an artist? Stop by to discuss a future showing with the Dredgers.