Essay for the exhibition catalogue Light Color Sound by Tracey Hummer
Hummer is a writer and editor covering art, architecture and design.
She is an editor with Art in America, and a former managing editor of Artforum.
Light to Silence
The threshold of their crossing
is the Singularity
(Where the desire to express meets the possible)
is the Sanctuary of Art
from Light is the theme by Louis I. Kahn
Senstad understands the science and the silence of light. She explores light
and sound as infinite and elusive
entities that she captures through photography. Using these invisible materials, she investigates their common territory,
effectively and elegantly presenting a visualization of sensory experience.
Senstad toys with the technical to attain the sensual. For her, color is a
language that expresses and explores inner spaces,
feelings, moods. With a firm grasp of color theory, she understands the spectrum and mixes psychology with science. Her
photographs document “instant sculptures,” as she calls them. Though her work could physically exist as an installation
(think Turrell or Flavin) she prefers to capture the moment and move on.
In one series, the effects and presence caught on film translate into organic,
self-evolving Albers-esque color studies.
Senstad employs pure sources, both direct and indirect light (Tungsten and daylight), sometimes adding gels and filters
to the mix in what can be described as a very intuitive, instinctual process. An iris or an inkspot are reference points that
come to mind. Circles take on a smudgy existence as they dominate the center and dissolve. The strength of these
works, in addition to their composition and mesmerizing quality, draws from the saturated colors she selects.
blue spot bleeds and recedes into its white backdrop, while in another image,
a black hole surrounded
by an aura of green gives way to pure cyan. A deep red vortex fades to white, and in a separate instance of role
reversal, a fuzzy white center shifts to pink then magenta. There are a number of works in this series that merely
hint at color; they quietly explore a range of beige and resemble shadow studies or a tonal eclipse. In her universe,
a “simple” spot becomes its own planet. Like a studio astronomer, Senstad uses a personal notation system of letters
and numbers to both title and track her findings.
She also finds flare in fluorescence, producing long horizontal works of brilliant
glowing bands that merely suggest the
tubular light source. Subtle gradations drift from golden yellows and green, pale blue and beige or simply the minimalist
confection of white on white. Even when the color is “missing” the image maintains a soothing rhythm. Taking a different
tack on tonal, her sound pieces chart a different spectrum, tracking movement using a separate system, devoid of color.
Following a horizontal format, the layers of stripes, blips, squiggles and wavy lines take on a seismographic quality. They
document the invisible, but allude to the corporeal as they also resemble an EKG reading or chromosomal mapping of DNA.
Senstad distorts and samples from multiple sources to generate these soundscapes. Like little stories arranged in even
horizontal chapters, these layers take on a narrative quality.
In this body of work, there exists white noise and silence. Senstad both explores
and fills the void with images that combine
a certain softness with a clarity of chroma. Shifting and changing zones of intensity fade and blur into edgeless, endless
atmospheres. Her work captures a fleeting moment that only exists for an instant. Finding the magic in that moment, her
photographs are as much about poetry as process.
Hummer, New York, April 2003
- anne katrine senstad - all rights reserved
all art/photography on this site is copyrighted material.