Monday, August 27, 2012


Ed Mannery, left, and a costumed Iole Alessandrini.

 Alessandrini and friends.

Alessandrini performative with installation.

Iole Alessandrini and Ed Mannery provided a site-specific installation to Push Arts Festival August 24, 2012 at South Lake Union Park.

Despite unseasonably cool weather including a steady 10-knot north wind ripping across Lake Union, dozens of denizens of night art outdoors circulated between the various site-specific artworks comprising Push Arts Festival's debut event.

Alessandrini and Mannery sited a new-media work on the pedestrian bridge which spans the Central Cove, a small inlet from Lake Union resembling a pond.  The non-objective artwork comprising the imagery of the installation involves the use of brilliant green lasers.  This projected light figures significantly in the preceding works of art by Alessandrini, employed creatively a number of times, including a breathtaking site-specific installation in an empty, enormous Volunteer Park water tower. To contrast,  a quaint, petite installation in a stairwell of the Seattle architecture firm Mithun , is memorable for the past use by Alessandrini of this type of laser new media in her artistic expression.

Using the salient angularity of the South Lake Union Park pedestrian bridge as a grid from which to accentuate various geometric patterns, Alessandrini/Mannery evoke a contemporary homage to Cubism, substituting Braque and Picasso's earthy hues for the brilliantly blinding beams of the l.ight a.mplification s.imulated e.mission of r.adiation (laser).  Using planes of light in place of planes of pictures, Alessandrini/Mannery turn the functional fixture of a bridge into a space-age dimensional portal.  The Ponti Vecchio becomes the Ponti Nuovo.

Added to this stabile accoutrement of light is an idiosyncratic, costumed artist performing, at first unrecognizable as the admittedly attractive, raven-haired Alessandrini.  We hear Alessandrini's voice occasionally speaking instructions to collaborator Mannery from behind a costume boundary. The performative image is disorienting, Alessandrini's costume- Venice Carnival mask and orange fright wig- conceal Alessandrini's usual beauty.  The viewer is instead enchanted/annoyed by the costumed Alessandrini catwalking across the bridge/installation, as she creatively manipulates a hand-held laser.  In this way Alessandrini is providing a spectacle of extemporaneous theatre to support the sculptural aspects of the fixed light elements of the installation.  The repeated procession of Alessandrini through the installation with gyrations of the hand laser, produces each time a new moving light projection, and by extension, a new work of art, each pass she makes through the bridge installation is unprecedented and a wonder to behold.

The combined elements of this site-specific installation distinguish the ever-inventive artwork of Alessandrini as assisted by Mannery, as that like no other.  In witnessing the team effort presented by Alessandrini/Mannery, it becomes apparent the collaboration is a very rare gem, the two artist seem to anticipate the thought processes of the other, and the unified mind of two yields an entertaining and original product of non-objective art which plays enormous.

The window of Push Arts Festival has shut, and the short exhibit schedule (one night only) of Alessandrini/Mannery's installation, only increases the value of this time-based installation/performative.  One is in hopes additional impending exhibits of new media can not be far off.

Ms. Alessandrini and Mr. Mannery met in 2001 at the Bellevue Arts Museum.  Mannery was artist in residence.  This is their first collaborative project since “Between Spaces” and focuses on creative and technical innovations involving optics and the exploration and perception of space with light.

No comments: