To Capture What The Bird Has Already
June 5 - June 25 2015
Opening Friday June 5th, 6-9pm
Sushi Bar Gallery is proud to present a new body of work by Jeffrey Stuker, To Capture What the Bird Has Already. In the gallery the visitor will find three vertical compositions made during the production of Fulgora laternaria, a short motion picture about an hemipteran insect from the Amazon commissioned by the Seeld Library. As large-format c-prints these images have the appearance of a reality carefully lit and captured by camera. However these images originate in the computer as renders painstakingly mimicking the “naturalism” of photographic representation. The insect represented—the Fulgora—is itself so thoroughly mimetic that in 1957 Roger Caillois would describe it as an example of the mask in nature. In “The Mask,” translated by the artist for The White Review, Caillois wrote:
the Fulgora truly is a mimetic insect. Its upper wings are covered with camouflage drawn and tinted so as to allow them to blend with the trunk of the Simarouba tree, which this insect takes to by preference. From their abdomen large waxy fleeces emerge rendering them invisible among the mosses, lichens, and irregularities of the bark. If they take such care to dissimulate, why, at the same time, attract attention with a monstrous mask?
In the center of the gallery the visitor will also find the book Fulgoridae published by the Seeld Library Press, which details the morphology of the Fulgora laternaria and the mythologies that have developed around it. Contained within the book is a double sided, photographic print—“life -size”—of the Fulgora. This print also originates as a computer modeled simulation, a technology that has conditioned our habits of viewing to the point of becoming second nature. The text of this slender book addresses the point of contact between “first” and “second” nature, particularly the similarity between the “capturing” of the Fulgora, the trap of the entomologist, and the seduction of technology. In its own words:
The photograph captures what the bird has already. For a less digested view of the Fulgora the entomologist unfurls a white sheet and hangs it between two trees at night, projecting a beam of light onto it. Out of the dark they are lured by the luminous screen.
Jeffrey Stuker makes artworks and writes about art under various insignia, both fictional and actual. He is the fashion editor of ART HANDLER magazine in New York and the co-director of the Seeld Library. His recent solo show in Los Angeles, This Lantern Lacks a Candle (at Full Haus) received a Critic’s Pick for Artforum. His film Fulgora laternaria will screen next month in Berlin in conjunction with the Jan van Eyck Academie. Recently his images and writings on art have appeared in The White Review, Mousse, Prism of Reality, ART HANDLER, Music and Literature, and the Stoneslide Corrective.