Blumenfeld / Moments of Light
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's current
exhibition of Santa Fe artist Erika Blumenfeld is so crisp it
is like visual silence.
The challenging Blumenfeld creates by exposing
Polaroid film to light, without a camera or lens, for a measurable
period. Many Polaroid squares are then arranged together in
a chronological array, like a modern Mayan calendar.
In a purely visual sense, works such as the ongoing
"Light Graph: Winter Solstice" give viewers a sensation
of being blinded by the rising sun while sitting in a glacial
crevasse. This is sublime -- nothing else needs to be said.
Upon closer inspection we find that each Polaroid
is tacked to the clean white wall with four clear plastic pushpins.
Blumenfeld feels the pushpins highlight "the elusiveness
of time and the absence of certainty."
I partly agree. In effect, the Polaroids become
a display of specimens tacked to the wall. This highlights how
impossible the fourth dimension is to bottle, store and display
without losing the liveliness of the original moment.
The Cubists ran into this same problem with paint.
Thus, pushpins turn transcendence into an obvious, descriptive
exhibit -- making Blumenfeld's "elusiveness" purposefully
moot and within grasp.
Streak Variation #2
This exhibit presents inconclusive, flawed information
and creates a bottomless pit of bad data for "certainty"
to fall into.
The final work, "Light Graph: Reflection for
Muted Skies," lies on the floor and redeems any incongruencies.
It needs no pins and reflects the natural obscuring glare up at
the viewer, who has a clear view of Portland's demolished Brewery
Blocks -- and the promise of new development outside the museum
Thus, the sublime elusiveness of light and an absence
of certainty over time are finally unobstructed, both in art and
Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA)
is at 219 NW 12th Ave., #100. The exhibit runs through April 21.