Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Exquisite Corpse: Stu Schechter

Stu Schechter collaboration with Ralph Helmick
dimenensions: 8' h 5.5' w 26' d
materials: steel, aluminum, stained glass 
site: Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
commissioned by: Minnesota Percent for Art Program

Issues of analysis, synthesis and mortality are central to this artwork created for the new state forensics laboratory of Minnesota. Exquisite Corpse is comprised of nineteen giant aluminum “magnifying glasses”, each housing two distinct layers of imagery.

The first are colorful stained-glass panels depicting twice-life-size cross-sections of human anatomy. Collectively, they indicate the form of a dissected, recumbent, elongated male figure. (Helmick and Schechter excerpted these interior bodily views from the National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project, an exceptionally detailed medical database.)

The mechanisms that suspend the stained-glass sections also function as a second layer of imagery. Welded metal filigrees hold the glass panels in place, each steel “drawing” referring to a different analytical technique employed at the lab. Allusions to specific disciplines include molecular diagrams of heroin and ethanol, representations of bullet holes and blunt objects, and raw data from dental records and gas chromatography. 

The familiar DNA double helix appears twice, at the head and foot of the figure, framing the entire artwork as an acknowledgment of the centrality of genetics to contemporary forensic investigation.

Seen as a whole, the scientific specialties embedded in Exquisite Corpse merge into a dense web of interconnected information, creating a metaphor for how various departments at the BCA often unite to forge a nuanced understanding of complex crimes.

Stained glass is an art form historically associated with spiritual settings and concerns. Exquisite Corpse employs the power of the medium in a setting where reverence for the human body coexists with analysis of our most basic corporeality.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

LECTURE: Chartres and the Rhetoric of Gothic Cathedrals

American Friends of Chartres, the Standing Committee of Medieval Studies of Harvard University and the patronage of the Consul General of France in Boston, invite you to a lecture by Paul Crossley, Professor Emeritus of the Courtauld Institute of  Art of London University on Chartres and the Rhetoric of Gothic Cathedrals, Tuesday March 12, 2013 at 5:30pm, at the Sackler Museum, 485 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachussetts.  The lecture will be preceded by a short presentation of American Friends of Chartres activities and projects (the website: www.friendsofchartres.org is being updated) and a photographic presentation by Art Sacré Photographers, Dennis and PJ Aubrey.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

AGG Member: Debora Coombs videos

This gives the appearance of a perfect day when everything goes right but I'm guessing it was slightly more work than it looks! Enjoy these elegant & inspirational videos from Deborah Coombs website:

Making Menfolk Part 1: stained glass by Debora Coombs from Debora Coombs Criddle on Vimeo.

Making Menfolk Part II : stained glass by Debora Coombs from Debora Coombs Criddle on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Matisse & Chagall Windows

For many years I have had on my "to see" list a visit to the Union Church of Pocantico Hills in the Hudson Valley near Sleepy Hollow, NY. This unassuming little chapel has Matisse's last window, a rose window in his signature "cut paper" style. The remainder of the windows in the church were designed and painted by Marc Chagall. Over the recent Christmas break my family and I had the opportunity to visit the chapel to see the windows. As the docent explained - "You've come at perhaps the best time of the year". At 3 PM on a Sunday afternoon the low winter sun shining through leafless trees flooded the chapel with light. The windows are beautiful. What I really appreciated as a painter was that they are right at eye level. You can see all of Chagall's brushwork and the meticulous details he "picked out" of the matt with needles & scrubs.
Since I hadn't written in advance the docents wouldn't allow photography but I later discovered that the Chapel has a Smart phone app with great images & videos about the windows. Here is the online version which you can also download to your Apple device through  Itunes: http://unionchurch.toursphere.com/pages/