Exhibition Review: Vicki DaSilva - Lumen Lineation
By Adam Ethan Berner
Usually, taking a photo preserves the instantaneous and the language around it reflects that; “a snapshot”, “capturing a moment”, etc. Even something as brief as the blink of an eye can be recorded by the camera lens. Vicki DaSilva’s work in Lumen Lineation at SL Gallery subverts this dynamic entirely and seamlessly collapses multiple moments of time into a single frame for all to see.
Vicki DaSilva’s “light graffiti” uses night time single frame exposure photographs as she brings her own specially made lights into the camera’s field of view throughout the scenery. This results in the creation of surreal and stunning images of floating billowing lights. Videos of DaSilva that seem to just show some person running around at night with a knock-off lightsaber fade away to reveal the stunning images she has created, obviously requiring an incredible amount of planning, visual and spatial memory, and a willingness to play with perception.
These photographs don’t just use light as a tool to let the subjects be seen, in these images light is something worthy of being seen and studied itself. The light in DaSilva’s work becomes something beautiful and strange; rippling rows of waves over the sands of a beach, red silk banners that drape over city parks in perfect harmony and composition, and rotating sheets of willowy light that dance around the space.
By playing with light in these ways, DaSilva’s work compels the viewer to reconsider how they perceive and understand both space and time. Through the use of long exposure shots, not only can these images can not only show softer and gentle natural lights that are usually overpowered by their brighter counterparts, but the photographs also present a world not as it is in a single instant, but how it functions and changes over time.
The human figures caught in the camera become transparent shadows, abstracting them and placing more emphasis on the way that people live in the space instead of the individual itself, as the lights dance through the scenery, reminding the viewer how one lives through and is shaped by their surroundings.
DaSilva’s work presents light as an aura of purified thought and emotion, transcending the shadowy human subjects and emerging as something greater than its source. The rippling luminescence representing a collection of life that goes beyond the individual and remains even after its progenitor has departed.
Lumen Lineation will be at the SL Gallery until Friday, October 19th.
SL Gallery, 335 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, on Tuesday through Friday. Saturday by appointment only.
For more information, click here.