Esther Solondz: So Lightly Here
January 5 – 27 at Gallery NAGA
January’s winter stillness is mirrored by the quietude and restraint of Esther Solondz’s work inside Gallery NAGA.
So Lightly Here is on exhibition from January 5 through 27. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, January 5 from 6 to 8 pm.
The continuing evolution of Esther Solondz’s fascination with and experimentation with transformative materials is expressed in her new work. For the past ten years, she’s worked with substances that, over time, turn themselves into something else: dripping salt water that forms stalagmites, iron filings that rust to leave a suggestive image. This installation is comprised of materials one might assume would go unnoticed, but in fact these are exactly the things Solondz is most interested in.
In her home in New Hampshire, where Solondz spends the summers, she started noticing more closely the remnants and traces of animals and insects. Ants would invade her mudroom and crows were eating her berries. Instead of working to extinguish their existence, she used them to create art. She placed paper on the ground onto which she placed paper cups full of sugar water. The ants would be attracted to the sugar water, get trapped in the cups, and the crows would then come and eat the ants. When the sugar water was gone and the ants had all been eaten, Solondz found tracks and marks surrounding the cups. It was, in essence, a performance, the residue from which became the art.
In another piece, she suspended a large piece of paper over a nearby pond, just barely touching the surface. After weeks she took the paper down and noticed skid marks across the surface, traces, she believes, of the water bugs inhabiting the pond.
Solondz is also drawn to the experimental nature of materials and how they change over time. Vials and jars filled with plants, flowers, soap, and a multitude of other substances sit on tables in her studio. Some are bubbling, while others objects appear suspended as if they’ve been there for a hundred years. These sealed experiments are fragile and temporary like most of what Solondz is interested in. What they leave behind, are, as she says, so lightly here.