Art Opening "Binocular" at the Winkleman Gallery in Chelsea and Grumman Studios in Bethpage, Long Island
(Long Island, N.Y.) Art Enthusiasts enjoyed an art exhibit at the Winkleman Gallery this past week to view "Binocular" their first solo exhibition by critically acclaimed New York artist and filmmaker Leslie Thornton. Thornton's beautifully exquisite ongoing investigations of the cinematic image have taken her into a new and unexpected territory where she traces the complex interactions between technology, nature, and abstraction.
During our interview she confessed she had to express her art through filmmaking. "I had been taking still photographs of animals for a few years living and dead. My background is really in filmmaking and video art. I started working with circular images a number of years ago and one day I shot the parrot and I started fooling around and I doubled the image. There was a dialogue that occurred between the two sides one was abstract and one representation," revealed Leslie.
This magnificently illustrated exhibition, "Binocular," consists of a series of flat-screen monitors. On each screen two circular fields appear. On the left screen images of animals depicting birds, reptiles, fish, mammals, some exotic, others familiar and commonplace, all beautifully captured, just doing what they do in the wild. On the right screen the image is folded back on itself in a centripetal pattern, reminiscent of a kaleidoscope. The two circular fields are intimately connected expressing the movements of the animals. The left screen the images are remapped into the elegant mathematical abstraction and on the right the effect is quite unexpected and profusely profound. The viewer notices minute tremors and shifts (a small heart beating, for example) in the left sphere, by catching the very same resonant motion, multiplied, recast, and folded into itself in the pattern on the right. There is no anthropomorphism here, no disneyfied cuteness, no identification or domestication. Thornton gives us a glimpse of a universe prior to language and exterior to consumption, mute, opaque, and absolutely final.
Acclaimed artist and Filmmaker Leslie Thornton's beautiful, meditative camera work locates the movements of predator/prey relations in the most subtle fragments and configurations of behavior and morphology. All of her pieces, art work and films have this intensity, an almost painfully precise focus on the fundamental minutiae of being in the world. In Thornton's magnum opus, Peggy and Fred in Hell exemplifies the tumultuous cacophony of post-apocalyptic litter surrounding her protagonists, two small children, as animate, threatening, epiphanic, and inescapable. As art viewers we were transported along into their habitat. There was just enough for viewers to make their way without being totally consumed. Their own eventual heroic disposition saves Peggy and Fred, and rescues all of us.
Art goers are similarly transported by the succession of animal/animate spaces in "Binocular." Nature is not subsumed or restructured, circumscribed or contained. The exhibit is reflected in a strange and elegant mirroring that acknowledges that the space of otherness traced in the image of the animal is filled by an abstract artifactuality based on the fact there was nothing but an artifactuality present to begin with.
The highly talented Ms. Leslie Thornton has been at the very inception of experimental film and media since the beginning of the 1980's. Ms. Thornton has produced more than twenty film and video works and installations. Her influential pieces include Peggy and Fred in Hell, (an astonishing and profound multi-episodic work), Adynata (an important early work on perceptions of China), Another Worldy (one of the strangest and most engaging musicals ever made), Let Me Count The Ways: Minus 10, 9, 8, 7. (a serial, modular, work, an ongoing and deeply moving 'portrait' of the artist's father, who participated in some of the defining events of the 20th century), and countless others.
Ms. Thornton is an established acknowledged pioneer in media and is a legendary and influential artist whose early works first addressed the interplay between cinema, video, installation and improvisation in a manner that prefigured many contemporary media strategies. Her detailed art pieces have been exhibited worldwide at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, Centre Pompidou, the Tate Modern, PS.1 and numerous others. She has also received many awards, prizes and accolades, including the Maya Deren Lifetime Achievement Award and the first Alpert Award in the Arts for Media.
I also had the chance to chat with Art Curator and owner of the gallery Edward Winkleman about their art exhibits and history.
Independent curator Edward Winkleman and artist Joshua Stern founded the Winkelman gallery in 200l. The gallery was first launched as Plus Ultra Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their inaugural exhibition was a group show about sleaze culture and a direct critique of the ongoing Disneyfication of New York City and it received a rave review in The New York Times. Subsequent gallery exhibitions have been reviewed in Artforum, Art in America, Flash Art, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, Art on Paper and many other art publications.
Eventually the gallery was transported into Chelsea in March 2006 and the gallery name was changed to reflect a change in ownership. The Winkleman gallery has participated in art fairs such as ARCO, Art Chicago, Pulse, Year 06, Aqua, and NADA, and gallery artists have exhibited in some of the world's most important venues, including the Venice Biennale, the Vienna Kunsthalle, The Art Institute in Chicago, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Singapore Biennale, and the Sharjah Biennial.
Edward Winkleman began his art career with a series of guerilla-style exhibitions organized in New York and London under the name 'hit & run'. In 2001 he co-founded Plus Ultra Gallery in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, New York. He was a founding member and the first president of the Williamsburg Gallery Association and an early member of the New Art Dealers Alliance. Moving into Manhattan's gallery district in Chelsea in 2006, he transformed the name of the gallery to Winkleman Gallery. The gallery's exhibitions have been reviewed in numerous publications including the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Flash Art, the New Yorker, Time Out New York, and Art on Paper. Winkleman has participated in art fairs such as ARCO, Art Chicago, Pulse, Year 06, Aqua, and NADA. He is also the author of an eponymous blog about the art world and politics and a contributing editor to the international blog Art World Salon. Mr. Edward Winkleman resides in New York City.
For more information about the Winleman Gallery please visit www.winkleman.com.
Another remarkable and interesting individual I recently interviewed is Developer Parviz Farahzad, the owner of Lunar Module Park, Grumman Studios in Bethpage, Long Island - New York.
The massive structures that once inhabited the building of the lunar modules that briefly roamed the moon's surface 40 years ago have been recently redeveloped into a fully functioning motion picture production studio.
Grumman Studios consist of a 500,000 square foot facility with seven expansive sound stages with massive storage capacity and is surrounded by thirty acres of paved outdoor space for set construction and parking.
After Mr. Farahzad finalized ownership of the largest studio in Nassau County he set out to convince Columbia Pictures to film "Salt", a new $165 million action thriller starring Angelina Jolie at his location. More than 100 cast and crew members worked in Long Island on "Salt" resulting in Grumman Studios peeking the attention of other film production companies seeking to take advantage of the facility's attractive benefits and convenient location.
Grumman Studios is a certified qualified New York State production facility and the largest in the tri-state area. The facility is only minutes away from midtown Manhattan and films produced at Grumman are eligible for tax incentives through New York State. Celebrity and Grammy winner Justin Timberlake and NFL quarterback Peyton Manning are the more recent A-lister stars to film at Grumman Studios. The two celebrity personalities worked at Grumman Studios filming a TV commercial for Sony produced by award-winning production company Smuggler.
Smuggler, winner of Production Company of the Year at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, spent two weeks at Grumman Studios during the production.
"It is vital to our state's economy that New York remains a premier destination for film and television productions," said Governor Paterson at the bill signing. "The entertainment industry plays an important role in fostering economic growth by promoting our state on movie and television screens across the world, and creating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers."
The Top Ten Reasons Producers Choose Grumman Studios:
1. Grumman Studios is a short ride from JFK International, La Guardia, MacArthur and Republic Airports.
For more information please visit www.grummanstudios.com or contact Parviz Farahzad at 631-689-1985.
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