Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Sound and Silence
Somewhere in the midnight hum of nerves and flesh, there is a rhythm. Each city, each street, each place has its own subtle beat. At certain moments, perhaps in a drunken but acute stupor, we have all at one time whispered to the sublime in the undercurrent of the night and felt the pulse of the immediate. And it was in such a moment that I met Alexandra Pacula, recent winner of the Saatchi Gallery Showdown.
My wife and I attended an eclectic and vibrant party in east Williamsburg, amidst the rush of the tango and the thrum of voices. My good friend Adam Miller had invited me to his studio for this party in almost the nether realms of the warehouse jungle. It was this night that we requested of his girlfriend, Alexandra, who had a studio in the same building, to allow us to visit her studio.
I was immediately taken by the homage to Nighthawks above, entitled Nocturnal Escapade. In the blur of my own aesthetic intoxication, I was able to sense the pulse of the city as I had never before encountered. Stretching back into the inky darkness of Jack Kerouac's New York, the Subterranean bee-bop of a lost generation, and Hopper himself perched upon the bar stool, I glimpsed the string which connects the ghosts of past - through the fluid hours - to strum a steady note under the fluorescent lights. I realized then, that the hum I heard, in the cold New York night, was not that of the warm bar lights, but a supernatural communion with all those lonely souls who've passed before. The city that never sleeps, has truly not slept for years, and somehow this enables each year to live on, blurring into the next to leave an echo which one might detect in the obscure encryptions of Alexandra's calligraphic brushwork.
Alexandra's work is a sensuous effigy to the night life. But more than that, it seeks a truth which lies beneath the clutter of voices and dirty martini's. It seeks (and finds) that intangible eternity which yawns into the depths of human collective remembrance. She employs the color and brush much like a jazz master, drawing on the greatness of the past, infusing it with her own soulful yearning, and improvising amidst our social and physical realities to create a fluctuating reverberation between the abstract and the corporeal. This excitement speaks of both passion and melancholy, but the tension between the two is what makes it so compelling.