Wandering into English Kills off of a snow-dusted Forrest Street is a moment demanding to be experienced right now. Having grown accustomed to bright lights, white walls and winter doldrums I was initially taken aback by the somber back room of the gallery. Through the doorway, one can see only a fraction of three fantastic floating sculptures created by artist and costume designer Tescia Seufferlein.
Pass into that room and the sculptures double in size from what you originally perceived. On initial inspection it seems that three wedding dresses have been ripped, stained, and coated in resin for the effect of a mind-boggling transformation. A second pass reveals the intensity of these actions and the care given to the subjects of the transformation. Being that the exhibition promotes repeated examinations, different items and moments of exaltation will poke and prod at your consciousness.
Taking the description of intent out of context: “The evocative, draping forms in Seufferlein’s work capture the colliding moment of beautiful optimism met with daunting pessimism.” reminds me of lines 7 & 8 of Yeats’s The Second Coming.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Stratum is a work of contrasts. Tacked handkerchiefs move slightly when the front door is opened, while tiny A-Shirts remain flat against the wall in frames. The ultimate destruction of these wedding dresses is their preservation. A bride is clad in this “symbol of bliss” for such a short amount of time, limited to one occasion. The clothes themselves are indeed more symbolic than anything else. While making a fifth pass, I was reminded of the poem’s closing lines:
And what rough beast, it’s hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?
Go to English Kills before February 17th. The gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday from 1-6PM.
Further reading: Sparkly Shoes of Tescia Seufferlein
Lytro ‘Living Pictures’ by Katarina Hybenova. Check out this revolutionary technology that allows you to zoom and refocus in the image.