Travel, technology and the ‘roaming’ eye of a New York artist are explored in a mixed-media exhibit in the Paseo

Mary Ann Strandell: Indexes of Mediated Space
6 p.m. Friday, opening reception
On display through May 31
JRB Art at the Elms
2810 N. Walker

The motion of her international travel and her exploration of technology are captured in the moving images of Mary Ann Strandell’s art. “Indexes of Mediated Space” is an active landscape of her oil paintings, drawings, 3-D lenticular prints and video installation. Cell towers seen along Midwestern highways and chandeliers hanging in Italian villas shift alongside modern water dams and security cameras.

“I have a bit of a roaming eye for these things that represent this old and new world,” Strandell said.
After growing up on the Great Plains and studying art at the University of South Dakota and the University of New Mexico, she now works out of New York. Her romantic imagery based in Old World elegance is blended with new media; like the moving pictures of winking eyes dug out of Cracker Jack boxes, her lenticular prints have images that change with the movement of the viewer.

“You’re really looking through a lens. The whole surface of the print is an optical device,” she said. “When you look through it, the layers underneath the lens are activated as you move in front of them.”

Drawing from her own photography of industrial machinery, as well as decorative art objects in museum collections, she creates movable terrains for these prints, which sometimes have up to 40 layers that create numerous optical moments. Chandeliers especially recur in these layers, and she seeks out the elaborate light fixtures in palaces, hotels and ballrooms.

“I’m always on a constant lookout for chandeliers,” she said. “I like what they represent, particularly in palaces: these massive, ornate things that lived through many generations of great change. I think of them as these things that have their own residue of history.”

One of JRB Art at The Elm’s rooms will be turned into a viewing space for a video installation. The animation is based on one of Strandell’s oil paintings and a series of ink drawings, with the central form being a large chandelier.

“It has to do with this language of layering,” she said. “In the animation, the chandelier moves very slowly. I was thinking of it as a breathing apparatus. It has this subtle movement where the coloration around the chandelier shifts in tonality. It is encased with some other linear drawings that reference a royal bedroom.”

She also will create a large, sumi-ink drawing of a “meme tree” directly on a wall of the gallery, which will be topped with small lenticular prints. “”Allison Meier


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