Weekly Update –Weather Reports at ANH/VHS

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This week’s Weekly has my review of the SP Weather Station Weather Reports. Below is the copy with some pictures.

If there is angst or hysteria about global warming in the group show “Weather Reports” it is hidden. Instead of melting ice caps and imperiled polar bears, the quiet, small works show of drawings, prints and video at AHN/VHS focuses on the daily weather data recorded at the artist-run SP Weather Station on a rooftop in Long Island City, Queens.

View of SP Weather Station, Long Island, Queens
View of SP Weather Station, Long Island City, Queens

The SP Weather Station project was started by Natalie Campbell and Heidi Neilson in 2007 as a way for artists to turn their focus to the weather and create art that reflects or chronicles weather on the site.

Some of the works stick a little too close to the data and actually look like data point plot charts you’d see in a science book.  But several of the works are quite surprising with their visual or conceptual punch.

Mike Nystrom's software-generated weather report, detail, from April, 2009
Mike Nystrom’s software-generated weather report from June 26, 2009

January 2009 by Mike Estabrook and Vandana Jain shows President Obama’s head as a burning yellow sun collaged on to a grim looking black and white urban scene.  Michael Geminder’s simple word piece “CLEAR WARM AND STILL,” with the words laser cut out of a small piece of cardboard is lyrical and effective in conjuring up the conditions of a quiet summer night.  Mark Nystrom‘s seven digital prints from June 21-27, 2009, transcend the data through digital manipulation.  Nystrom uses software like the open source “Processing” program in prints that could be Francis Bacon tornadoes, half clear and crisp; half rubbed out in what look like angry attempts to mask what is real.  Beautiful and frenzied, the prints capture something of the mystery of unpredictable weather.

Mike Geminder's Clear, Warm and Still, laser-cut cardboard
Mike Geminder’s Clear, Warm and Still, laser-cut cardboard

Perhaps the most directly observational piece in the show is the photo documentation, April 2009 by Luke Strosnider.  The digital collage shows a number of long thin slices of the sky seen at various dates and times. This manipulated documentation captured with a camera hearkens back to the time when the only tool for predicting the weather was the eyes.  Here the camera’s eye has captured what the real eye also saw and saved it for posterity.  But everything is called into question, even the colors, in this digital piece.

Luke Strosnider, detail
Luke Strosnider, detail

AHN/VHS is run by two artist transplants from New York, Julianne Ahn and Lauren van Haaften-Schick who focus on works on paper–drawings, prints and publications which they exhibit and sell online and through their flat file in the back studio. The two just created a tiny project space in a curio cabinet outside the gallery and they are accepting proposals from artists to install a work of Lilliputian dimensions there. Currently, The Cabinet has a selection of toy-like Planetarium lamps collected by SP Weather Station co-founder Heidi Neilson.  The lamps are perfect and their lights project an image of the stars onto the cabinet walls and create a kind of magic box.

The Cabinet, outside the gallery.
The Cabinet, outside the gallery.

SP Weather Station: Weather Reports,” to Aug. 30. AHN/VNS, 319A N. 11th St., 4th floor. info@ahnvhs.com.

Tags

ahn/vhs, luke strosnider, mark nystrom, mike geminder, sp weather station, the cabinet

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