Critical Opalescence

Opens Saturday, April 27, 2019


Spectral Lines Gallery

Opening hours: by appointment


p: 917 478 5179

Bridget Batch, Owens Lake Ritual No. 1, 2014, digital c-print, 40 x 50 inches


Kevin Cooley, still from High Water Mark, 2016

Spectral Lines announces its second exhibition, Critical Opalescence, featuring works by artists Bridget Batch and Kevin Cooley.

Critical Opalescence brings together photography and video that responds to the alarmingly poor state of our relationship with nature, and the all-encompassing change of our climate that we are facing. Batch and Cooley investigate spaces of unparalleled beauty across the United States, and consider their current state of transformation.

Critical opalescence occurs during phase changes within physical compounds, such as liquid transforming into gas, when, momentarily, the two states cannot be distinguished from each other, a process seemingly caught in limbo, but already destined to change. In regards to climate transformation, we currently find ourselves somewhere around that ultimate point of no return, and what has been set in motion on a global scale decades ago is now visible and tangible everywhere around us (and even inside of us), if we choose to see it.

Bridget Batch presents series of photographic prints which are the record of performances she has undertaken on behalf of the camera from her ongoing project Rituals to Reveal Hidden Boundaries. Over the course of hour long exposures, Batch dances and paces, repetitively retracing her steps while bearing colored lights that mark the film with the boundary she contemplates. The mysterious spectacle that appears in the landscapes highlights and blurs invisible lines between what we generally term human-made. Batch performs these photographs in meditation and repetition in order to underline a presence that's unseen, historical, transcendental, or mysterious and potentially transformative. Her traced movements serve as symbolic and humble attempts to connect with, or else to emphasize, the meaning imbued within the locations.

 Kevin Cooley’s High Water Mark explores the confluence of demands placed on the water of the Colorado River at Lake Powell and Lake Havasu. These two large reservoirs tame the Colorado River to create a reliable water supply for millions of people throughout the Southwest while simultaneously offering “unparalleled opportunities for water-based recreation,” according to the National Park Service. The video depicts remote and desolate canyons of Glen Canyon, now exposed by the declining water levels of Lake Powell, juxtaposed against furious motor boating activity along the Parker Strip at Lake Havasu.

The slow-paced scenes of High Water Mark focus on the texture and scenic beauty of cathedral-like corridors and iconic waterways, punctuated by the disruptive sounds of motorized human presence in the otherwise silent desert landscape. The manipulation of these landscapes through the Colorado River Storage Project — a series of midcentury public works projects by the Bureau of Reclamation — secured the future of the American West, yet with declining water levels, and rapidly increasing evaporation rates, the conversation of how to best return these lands back to nature has already begun.

Through photography, installation and video, Bridget Batch pursues questions regarding alternate planes of consciousness and the nature of existence. She makes meditative artworks exploring our sense of connection in a world defined by modernization, consumption culture and environmental transformation.

Batch has exhibited internationally, and completed artist residencies at Italy’s Fabrica, Salem Artworks in Salem, NY, Tropical Lab 7 in Singapore, and at the Grand Canyon South Rim Program, among others. Her work was recently featured as part of De La Tierra a La Tierra, at the Centro Cultural Metropolitano in Quito, Ecuador. A frequent collaborator, Batch has worked with artists Kevin Cooley, Eve-Lauryn LaFountain, composer Jean-Luc Sinclair, and within the collective neverhitsend. With neverhitsend, she launched the internet project Toggle at SEA 2015. Batch received a 2016 New York City Community Engagement Grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation and in 2017, she was nominated for the PDN 30. In 2014, Batch received her MFA from CalArts and she now works, and teaches, primarily in Los Angeles.

 Cooley's work centers around a phenomenological, systems- based inquiry into humanity's contemporary relationship with the five classical elements – earth, air, fire, water, and aether. The resulting photographs, videos, and public installations look outward – examining the environment to observe experimental and performative gestures that seek to decipher our complex, evolving relationships to nature, technology, and each other. As his practice continues to evolve, he strives to challenge his own assumptions and deepen his understanding of environment and materiality. His latest projects address the human perspective more directly, presenting a comprehensive view of our collective environmental concerns, questioning the long-term sustainability of present-day living, and revealing the struggles – both practically and psychologically – of inhabiting a planet we are slowly destroying.

Since 2014, he's held solo exhibitions at the Catharine Clark Gallery, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Kopeikin Gallery, The Museum of Photographic Arts, The Nevada Museum of Art, Pierogi, Ryan / Lee Gallery, The Savannah College of Art and Design, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. His work is in prominent public collections including The Cleveland Clinic, The Guggenheim Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 21c Museum, The Nelson-Atkins Museum, The Nevada Art Museum, and The Museum of Photographic Arts.Cooley lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

Spectral Lines is an artist-run salon in Ridgewood, NY, exhibiting lens-based, conceptual works. Each exhibition presents new projects that are curated in collaboration with the selected artists. Spectral Lines presents five exhibitions per year, each running eight to ten weeks.

The first exhibition season is organized around the theme The Essentials. As a subjective grouping, each exhibition within The Essentials points to a different indispensable aspect of contemporary life: the internet, nature, family, capital, and subconsciousness.