An installation by Japanese-born and internationally recognized artist CHiKA and an exhibit of various works by photographer and sculptor Ned Smyth opened on Wednesday in the Pascal and Kresge galleries, respectively.
CHiKA, known for her interactive visual art, presented SEI06, an unusual geometric shape pulsing with LED lights that performs when the viewer uses a sensor that dictates the brightness, syncopation and the sound in the room. The concept for the installation is centered around the Japanese word sei which simultaneously means star, silent and live. The room is completely blacked out, forcing sensory perception to be focused on the object and a sound track specifically commissioned by an experimental composer that sounds like a complex combination of cave drip and lengthened echo reverberation. An element that is still to come that was not present at the opening reception is a two-monitor set-up that comes to life with the aid of 3D glasses.
In the adjacent gallery, Smyth presented an exhibit on the tail of a commissioned project for the Adler Center for Nursing Excellence titled “Male and Female Torsos,” two sculptures cast in bronze that reflect the motif of this most recent exhibition.
“I started my connection with Ramapo with the site-specific piece for the Nursing Center. The idea for a nursing school [came from] working in health and on the human body. Looking at them, they make a gateway,” Smyth said when asked about the inspiration for the pieces prominently on display next to the Nursing Center.
Within the Kresge Gallery there is a scale model of the statues as well, which serve as representational art of both the male and female torso pieces.
The idea for this exhibition came from the discovery of various rocks during a studio move, but the germ was imbedded much earlier when Smyth had forgotten about casually picking them up on the beach.
“I love the story but I also liked the form … I didn’t realize we all pick up stones,” he said. “It’s really human to do that. I had done it but not consciously. There were these certain shapes that were less interesting to me until later.”
Multiple rows of stones flattened at the bottom are one of the central pieces of the gallery. Their flattened bottoms allow the stones to stand, making them works of art both individually and together as a larger work. On the walls of the exhibit are large photographed portraits of some of the stones. These photos bring out the complex texture, character and distinctiveness of each one.
CHiKA, like Smyth, will be contributing to the College by working with current visual arts students during the duration of the installment’s stay in Pascal Gallery.
Both galleries will be open until March 4, with weekly viewing availabilities taking place Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Wednesday from 1 to 7 p.m.