Totah presents Pareidolia, introducing a series of intimate new photographic works by Carol Szymanski, on view from January 11th through February 11th, 2018.
Between the indefinite and the concrete, there exists an intermediary partner: language. Szymanski has long been interested in negotiating this transitional terrain, knitting together her own mediating systems of color, sound, letter, word, and multi-dimensional forms. Pareidolia takes as its starting point Szymanski’s previous body of work, Songs of Solfège, a series of seven inflatable sculptures made of PVC plastic filled with helium. Songs of Solfège grew out of the artist’s quest to capture the primary element at language’s core: shaped breath. The resulting sculptures float freely around the room, each note of the solfège corresponding to a custom typeface formed of Mylar skin.
Via photographic captures, Pareidolia adds yet another level of translation to this exercise, mapping the movement of each sculpture in relation to its companions— monochromatic paintings Szymanski has made of the same shapes. Szymanski apprehends the fleeting presence of sound by seizing miniature reflections of her painted forms across the sculptures’ mirroring surfaces. Like the psychological phenomenon the term itself describes, wherein the mind perceives resemblances to familiar things (faces, figures or landscapes) where none objectively exist, the unique Cibachrome prints in Pareidolia give form to air, expression to impression, and call into relief the beautiful tension of “language dissolving itself into incommunicable sensation,” as the artist has put it, “language eating itself”.
Carol Szymanski is a New York-based artist, originally from Charlotte, North Carolina. Recent solo exhibitions and performances include The New Sounds Live Series, curated by WNYC’s John Schaefer at the Winter Garden (Brookfield Place) - The Phonemophonic Alphabet Brass Band (26 brass trumpets) - and performances of compositions by Ben Neill and Pauline Oliveros; A Distance as Close as It Can Be at Elga Wimmer PCC; My Life is an Index at Tanja Grunert Gallery; and Pissing Against the Wind, or, Sketches on the Mental Drain on the Dead Banker at Guided by Invoices. Szymanski studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and has been a recipient of numerous awards including the Rome Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. In addition to her ongoing collaboration with Ben Neill, she has also worked with musicians including the Ekmeles Ensemble, Dewey Redman, and Wadada Leo Smith.