July 6, 2008, 1:43 am
Filed under: Art, Collaborative, Painting/Drawing, Video

The Black Estate
February 7th – March 8th, 2008
Clair Oliver Gallery
513 West 26th Street, New York, NY

The Black Estate is an artists’ collaborative comprised of Noah MacDonald and Scott Pagano. I saw this exhibition a few months ago, and I was very impressed by the delicate balance of traditional media and and technology within each piece.

Upon entering the gallery, the veiwer would first encounter Field #2, a HD video loop displayed on a wall mounted flat screen TV. The video consists of a hand drawn ink-wash landscape, delicately animated to portray a gentle swaying of flora, a slow fall of what could be snow (or ash), and a gradually changing perspective. The image is eerily dark, and the borders are feathered to black in a way that distances the piece from its rectangular habitat.

Walking further into the gallery, the viewer would be confronted with Tree, another high definition video; only this time projected onto the far back wall of the gallery. The feathered edges of this piece had an even stronger effect, being that the work was fully incorporated into the gallery space, needing no container whatsoever, transforming the wall into a gateway to the artist’s life-sized, surreal landscape.

Looking to one’s left, one would encounter several wooden video objects with lenses in the top. Through these lenses, several more videos, Float, Bloom, Fall, and Swarm, could be seen. Each of these are also delicately animated, surreal depictions of nature, viewed in a manner that one would view an organism under a microscope.

Along the walls, one could also find a series of pen-and-ink and mixed media abstractions of nature, flora, and fauna.

The Black Estate’s haunting digital depictions of the natural world raise questions of contemporary man’s relationship with his environment. These beautiful, delicate works of art carry a message of the mortality of nature and all of its inhabitants, and a gentle reminder to protect what we have.

In “Stemma,” The Black Estate masterfully combined traditional media with digital technology to create an eerily surreal depiction of the natural world, inviting the viewer both to enter the landscape and to examine it through a lens.


1 Comment so far
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I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, I am an associate at the Claire Oliver Gallery. I would love to contact you with information regarding upcoming shows. Is there an address to reach you?

Comment by Laura

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