Saturday, August 23, 2014

A review of "STREAM"

Just reading this now...somehow missed it earlier....

Rutland Herald (VT)

April 3, 2014

Visual art review: 'Stream' - A meditative mix
Victoria Crain, Arts Correspondent

Right now, stepping into the Castleton Downtown Gallery is a serene experience. Artists Shelley Warren and Leslie Berns are presenting an exhibit called "Stream" that features multi-media installations of surpassing quiet. Their pieces incorporate both sound and motion filled with peace, inviting a visitor to sit for several moments - to see and hear a series of meditative video presentations, some superimposed on sculpture. "Stream" will be on exhibit through April 26.
A public artists' reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 4.

Berns and Warren studied together at Yale University School of Art and Architecture, Berns earning a MFA in painting, Warren an MFA in sculpture. Their collaboration for the current exhibit is serendipitous because they share a reverent and genuine approach to the content of their work.

Warren writes that the exhibit suggests that we consider an art where "self-expression is less about the individual ego and more about cultivating a higher self in harmony with the environment."
Warren's mixed media pieces incorporate her serene, still sculptures with the graceful motion and sound of Buddhist meditation laid over them like a veil. Although the activity in these pieces occurs in front of a viewer, the experience of seeing them is more like being covered in sound and energetic stillness.  "The main focus of my work is to bring together the practices of meditation, ritual and art.
I have devoted nearly 40 years in an attempt to understand and merge my inner experience and the outer environment, to be one and the same; these sculptures are, in essence, offerings and a meditative process. Using video as a medium, I then superimpose the sculptures with the visual documentation of these rituals; my attempt is to evoke a transformative occurrence."

Berns's "Grounding" is a photographic performance piece. Berns is seated on a small island, a stream flowing around her, and retrieves black tiles from her black garment, arranging them around herself in a circle. The seasons change, the stream passes her quietly, she inverts the tiles, depicting her personal meditation on time and change.

"Grounding" is a work-in-progress which ultimately will include a full year's seasons: nature's circle. Berns states that her work follows the recurring theme of transforming the duality of either/or thinking, by closely observing change.

These artists have transformed the gallery into a meditative space softened by a stream, a breeze on leaves, and chanting. The ambient awe makes being there a unique gallery experience.

Castleton Downtown Gallery presents "Stream: Recent work by Leslie Berns and Shelley Warren, March 26-April 26, in Center Street Alley, Rutland. Hours are: 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; for information, call William Ramage, 802-468-1266, or email
A public artists' reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 4.

Copyright, 2014, Rutland Herald