Embark Gallery Presents “Wave Forms”

Six Local Artists Explore Light and Sound from a Cosmic Perspective

For Immediate Release

September 24, 2018


Water, air, space- three universal strata through which to understand the human experience. The intangibility of sound and light waves inspires a poetic response and this exhibition features artwork whose interpretations are fluid - objects that relate to the tides, the planets, and the other unseen forces that govern our world.

 Hannah Perrine Mode.  Europa (pouring in from Taurus) , 2018. Ice (Oakland tap water, Antarctic ice core samples, Juneau Icefield glacier water) and cyanotype on filter paper. Detail.

Hannah Perrine Mode. Europa (pouring in from Taurus), 2018. Ice (Oakland tap water, Antarctic ice core samples, Juneau Icefield glacier water) and cyanotype on filter paper. Detail.

Hannah Perrine Mode’s installation Europa (pouring in from Taurus) merges printmaking with scientific research in the field. Using water taken from different locations and the power of the sun through cyanotype, Mode presents a set planetary prints that are, like Earth at present, simultaneously beautiful and fragile. Referencing the rape of Europa as well as Jupiter’s glacial moon, Mode’s work explores how scientific phenomena can be used as a tool for intimate storytelling, cementing this exhibition’s focus on our collective human experience of waves.

Elena Padron-Martin’s work brings us under the water in a deep sea GoPro recording of the Atlantic ocean. In the silent video the viewer is surrounded by calm aqua ripples that give the impression of softness and safety, like being in the womb. As the gaze of the camera looks up to the sun, one can’t help but think of birth - the moment when we emerge from dark water into the light. Across the room, separate from the moving liquid on the screen, is the soundtrack of these ocean waves, further challenging us to consider what role our senses play in how we perceive the world.

 Ruxue Zhang.  Our Cosmic Insignificance , 2017. Oil on linen.

Ruxue Zhang. Our Cosmic Insignificance, 2017. Oil on linen.

The work of Laurence Elias is similarly concerned with perception, this time of light and matter. His uniquely fabricated prints of semi-solid geometric shapes are printed on reflective material and hung on the wall at various heights and angles. As one is drawn to the shiny surfaces there is an effect of distortion on our perceived reality. Are they photographs of liquid, solid, or air? Flat or 3-dimensional? The answers vacillate creating a cognitive dissonance and we are reminded of the fallibility of visual perception.

Following this theme into the realm of sound, Amina Kirby presents an auditory experience titled A Click Between Walls. An exploration of sonic phenomenon and relativity, the piece changes as the sound waves bounce between two hard surfaces. What one hears depends completely on their positioning - an important reminder of bias and subjectivity.

Ruxue Zhang is concerned with humankind’s place in the universe. Her illusory paintings of pictures of space have a sense of humor, and seem to suggest the futility of comprehending the vastness of this world and beyond. By replicating photographs of outer space with a decidedly analog process, Zhang also points out the shortcomings of this light-based technology in helping us to understand the bigger picture.

At the conclusion of the exhibition is Alan (Flag-Bearer), an immersive installation by Shirin Khalatbari. Alan means Flag-bearer in Kurdish. The piece is a tribute to Alan Kurdi, the Syrian refugee child who found dead on the shore of Mediterranean Sea on September 2015. The somber subject and ghostly presentation acts in this exhibition as an exploration of death as the ultimate void or vacuum in which there are no more waves, only total absence of sound or light.

This exhibition was juried by Leila Grothe, Associate Curator for the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art.

Participating Artists: Laurence Elias (CCA), Shirin Khalatbari (SFSU), Amina Kirby (Mills), Hannah Perrine Mode (Mills), Elena Padrón-Martin (SFAI), Ruxue Zhang (CCA).

Press Previews by appointment.

Opening Reception:  Friday, October 26, 2018, 6-9PM

Hours: 1–6pm every Thursday-Saturday from October 27 - December 8, 2018.

Media Contact: Angelica Jardini | Curatorial Director | info@embarkgallery.com