Mirroring an illusion
VBMA exhibit invites viewers to explore space through their own perspectives
BY CATHERINE ENNS GRIGAS
When Vero Beach Museum of Art’s new senior curator, Anke Van Wagenberg, lined up one of her favorite artists for an exhibition this fall, she had no idea that a pandemic would shutter the museum and change much of the way it operates.
But as it turns out, the work of the internationally-acclaimed South Korean-born Baltimore resident Chul Hyun Ahn could not have been a better choice for a world restricted and changed by a pandemic.
His sculptures created with light and mirrors and other objects offer a window into the infinite. One art critic describes his work as, “At once thrilling and ominous, it suggests a rabbit hole to another world — underwater, outer space, afterlife — or a journey to the unknown, the kind of leap of faith involved in the artist’s own passage to an unfamiliar country and language.”
“It really is the perfect moment for this exhibition,” Van Wagenberg says. “His works are sculptures of light and illusion. They are thrilling, ominous and have an other worldliness about them.”
Van Wagenberg, who came to the VBMA from the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, became familiar with the artist’s work through the prestigious C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore, where Ahn settled after receiving a master’s of fine arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
At once sculptor, magician and engineer, Ahn creates his works using not only mirrors and lighting, but adding everyday objects. For example, one work uses railroad ties to suggest the endless succession of tracks into space.
“I try to present the viewer with an objective visual experience, so that they can explore infinite space from their own perspective,” he says. “I am trying to make an infinite void, at least visually. The light trapped between two mirrors creates an imaginary space.”
Ahn will be exhibiting 15 pieces at the museum, including one made especially for the exhibition that will be installed in the Stark Rotunda. Well offers the viewer the opportunity to look straight down into an illusionistic well in the floor.
“Ahn really believes in the Zen notion of the infinite,” says Van Wegenberg. “He doesn’t feel that the space is empty. It is really the gap between the conscious and the subconscious.”
Ahn says he is grateful for the exhibition, which is his first since the pandemic.
“The artist’s duty is not only creating art works, but sharing the idea, feeling and beauty of a piece…The sharing part is very difficult now. It is very tough and challenging for everyone.”
Avery to Warhol: Summer Salon at VBMA
Now until Jan. 3
The VBMA will reopen with Avery to Warhol: Summer Salon at VBMA, an exhibition of its new senior curator Van Wagenberg’s selections from the vault. She was attracted to the many artworks of quality in the collection although she is the first to admit that the result of her search is a subjective selection. The exhibition opens with a salon-style recent gift to the collection, Henry Hubbell’s Portrait of Three Sisters. They were the daughters of the founders of the Riomar neighborhood in Vero Beach. From this 1907 painting, museum visitors will virtually travel through the 20th century from the paintings by Milton Avery to Andy Warhol and not only contemporary masters but also selections of the glass collection of the VBMA.
Chul Hyun Ahn: New Light
Now until April 30
Stark Gallery and Stark Rotunda
The museum is offering an exciting exhibition of the Korean artist Chul Hyun Ahn. Ahn (born in Busan, South Korea, 1971) creates mind-bending sculptures that conjure illusions of infinite space. Drawing from Op Art and light-and-space traditions, as well as theories of the subconscious, the Baltimore artist explores the immersive, illusory possibilities of reflection. Ahn has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and is included in numerous private and public collections in Paris, Karlsruhe, Seoul, Istanbul and Dubai.
Poetry Of Nature: Hudson River School Landscapes from the New-York Historical Society
Jan. 23 — May 2
The Hudson River School rose to eminence in New York during the first half of the 19th century. This loosely knit group of artists, together with like-minded poets and writers, forged a self-consciously American landscape vision and literary voice. This exhibition includes 40 paintings by 25 artists ranging in date from 1818 to 1886, and offers a varied survey of important paintings conceived in the style of the Hudson River School depicting the varied scenery along its banks, among them the Catskills, Adirondack and White Mountains that provided the subject for their landscape masterpieces.
Elliott exhibit showcases works by local artists
Art created by Stuart area artists will be the focus of an exhibition at the Elliott Museum in Stuart that runs through Jan. 4, 2021.
Portfolios — Eclectic Artists and Art at the Elliott will feature a wide range of media, styles, techniques and subjects from 15 different artists, according to curator Linda Geary.
“Art and culture have long been an important aspect of our local community,” Geary notes.
The exhibition will give an overview of some of the many areas of art being explored by local artists, from painting, sculpture, photography, glass-working and jewelry-making. Many of the works will be for sale, with artists donating a portion of profits to benefit and support the Elliott Museum.
Participants include Dale Beam, Laura Kay Whiticar Darvill, Dot Galfond, Linda Geary, Kevin Hutchinson, Denise Justice, Carol Kepp, Livia Krof-Debonet, Mia Lindberg, Brent McAhren, Sue Ann Mosley, Kim Nolan, Bruce Wells and Kate Wood.
For more information, contact the Elliott Museum, 825 East Ocean Blvd., Stuart, at 225.1961