Review: Dara Gellman at Diaz Contemporary.

February 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Gellman (courtesy of Diaz Contemporary, photo by Toni Hafkenscheid)

Dara Gellman’s installation at Diaz Contemporary draws on the real and mythological significance of the pearl. An experimental adaption of the 14th century text entitled, “Pearl” the show explores this material as an object, an image and an idea. Gellman strives to create a visual interpretation of the author’s search of a lost pearl into another world.

The pearl’s various meanings and characteristics manifest in the dreamspace of the show’s central piece, “pearlmaiden.” The highly original work is composed of a slow moving videos projected onto a screen made up of 500, 000 replica pearls. The looping video is accompanied by Andrew Zealley’s musical composition inspired by the same text.

The pearl is the material and subject of the installation; the luminous pearl screen shows images that pixilate and fragment light with the same material quality as the pearl itself. The effect is ethereal. Each image takes on a bodily quality and a life that extends beyond the video and into the space around the hanging screen.

Gellman (courtesy of Diaz Contemporary, photo by Toni Hafkenscheid)

Accompanying “pearlmaiden” is an assortment of related works including a series of printed images. These images use the pearl more literally, yet embody the same material quality. With striking large white borders, pixilated images, and pale colors, the effect of the work is again pearlescent.

Another interesting work exploring the aspects of the pearl is “marygyre.” This work features a video yet again projected on the surface of a pearl. However, this time, instead of a screen of pearls, the surface is made up of one baseball sized fabricated pearl. The magical sense that is present throughout the show is more blatant in this work that has obvious similarities to a crystal ball.

“Pearlmaiden” and the accompanying works create a visual manifestation of the alternate reality described in “Pearl.” Yet Gellman goes further with these pieces to explore the significance of the pearl in literary history. By using the pearl motif in different ways she explores both its literal and metaphorical significance.

On until February 11th.

– Sophia Farmer

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