Marcie Bronson, Rodman Hall Art Centre/Brock University

AFTERIMAGE: John Noestheden, Reinhard Reitzenstein, Gayle Young

An afterimage is a sensation, usually visual, that remains after the external stimulus has ceased. Looking to the land and the cosmos, the three artists in this exhibition explore perception and what resonates beyond experience, be it in fleeting moments in nature, the lifespan of a tree, or the timeline of the universe.

John Noestheden creates monochromatic paint objects by layering coats of acrylic paint mixed with what he describes as stardust: ground meteorite, lunar dust, ash, urban particulate, and pure elements such as carborundum and diamond dust. The objects’ richly textured surfaces suggest agricultural seedbeds and constellations, and with intense viewing, the pure hues imprint themselves on our retinas, revealing complementary colours that slowly fade.

Written in response to Noestheden’s paintings, composer Gayle Young’s audio installation draws on the ambient sounds of an ecosystem on the Niagara Escarpment where old-growth cedars in a spring rainfall combine with sounds of the highway and the river below. From recordings made in this environment Young extracts layers of pitch that characterize voice sounds, revealing a breath-like exchange between the human body and the world we inhabit.

Reinhard Reitzenstein observes and chronicles trees under siege. Displaced by architecture and manufacturing, they adapt to changing and extreme environmental conditions, supported by mutual relationships within their ecological communities. A form of remembrance that asserts the presence and vitality of tree species that populate our local region and continent, his sculptures and drawings give power to a life form that is integral to our own.

In the natural world, the artists find allegories and questions about who and what we are. Scrutinizing and interpreting their subjects through processes that are at once labour-intensive and playful, they are like alchemists paring down the vastness of human experience through works that reveal the interconnectedness of our being and our surroundings.

The artists and curator thank Sharilyn J. Ingram for her role in the development of this exhibition.