Hudson River Bump and Grind

Gallery Review: Sit Back And Get Comfortable, This Will Take Awhile

By Dianne Bowen in New York

In an age of one minute to feel anything, sound byte moments, and short attention spans, artist Chris Coffins’ (sound component by Jeremy Slater) DVD and sound installation Hudson River Bump and Grind, 20 minutes in length, does not adhere to the notion that the public is said to only spend five minutes viewing a work of art. His work is the exact opposite, requiring your attention with all senses ready… Sit back and get comfortable, this will take awhile…

Image; courtesy of the artist (c)Chris Coffin Hudson River Bump and Grind, 2006

The black and white video of frozen ice on the Hudson River moves from large over view angles to close up shots of particular pieces. Large broken forms of ice become abstract, bumping up against each other by the natural rhythm of water. In a macro view they are a collective of shapes reminiscent of cells, or a carapace protecting the fluid underneath. It is as if one is watching something so large it is impossible to comprehend its scale, breathing, watching, waiting, and sleeping an ancient guardian of the ocean. Moving slowly into close up shots of individual sections, the bumping and grinding against each other take on living characteristics, nudging, sliding, flickering lines of light surrounding the forms where the water catches light are a silent communication. An alien pattern seemingly rooted in mathematics or musical composition. The nervous system or brain’s electrical flickering also comes to mind. Natural sounds of the environment surround you, wind, water flowing and lapping up against the ice forms…. Crackling sounds repeat… and you move in for an even closer view, now of two forms. Their edges rounded by centuries of movement, your sense of time slows down, and you’re in a prehistoric realm observing the earth shift. One piece, bobbing in the water, nudging the other as if it is its soul mate appears tender and lamenting. The second form appears still, floating in the water, life-less. They are like a pair of large orca’s or hump back whales, in the vast ocean, and you are a voyeur within the most private intimate moment between them, hoping for the forms to somehow connect. The depth of the water, smaller piece’s submerged, their weight and thickness throw you off kilter, questioning, contemplating the relationship and responsibility between human-kind, the environment and the universe itself. After a deep breath, I emerge from the small room into the bright, large expanse of the warehouse space, changed, affected, emotions laid bare.

Back Side

A collaborative exhibition featuring:

Chris Coffin, Michelle Jaffe', Kristine Robinson, Chris Walsh

45-46 21st Street second floor
Long Island City, NY 11101
Exhibition Dates: Sat. Jan 5th 3:00pm to 6:00pm
Sunday Jan 6thopening 3:00pm to 6:00pm
*Monday Jan 7th 3:00pm to 6:00pm
Sat. Jan 12th 3:00pm to 6:00pm
Sunday Jan 13th 3:00pm to 6:00pm