Suara Welitoff​'s ​The Feeling of a Feeling at Anthony Greaney

Review

by Wesley Simon

20 June 2018

Installation view, Suara Welitoff, "I Want To Tell You." Continuously looping video. 2017.

Semantic satiation is generally defined as the phenomenon in which a word or phrase  temporarily loses value or meaning for a given listener due to excessive repetition. In the work of Cambridge-based artist, Suara Welitoff, an exhaustive gestural ​satiation emerges as the repetition of visual signs leading to a similar effect. Through combinations of original and  appropriated images, Wellitoff’s ouvre makes precise use of gestural satiation as an aesthetic device to undermine the viewer’s identification with and self-projections upon the content of her moving images, generating a clearing to experience technologically-mediated images divorced  from the boundaries of subjective interpretation. Stripping away the conceptual lens, what lays bare is an aesthetic that undermines normative interpretation and exposes the subjective relationship between the viewer and the sheer otherness of the world viewed. Welitoff’s lens shows us a world that feels deeply personal, yet is free to remain open and uncertain, inviting us to dwell with both affinity and wonderment.

In “The Feeling of a Feeling​,” at Anthony Greaney Gallery in Somerville, Welitoff’s latest gestures are distilled almost to the point of elemental stasis. The repetition and laconic affect found in her previous work remains, but further recedes into the background as discrete layers of a working process that can only be described as lyrical purification.

Suara Welitoff, "Infinite Things" Archival pigment print, 16 x 21 1/4 inches. 2018.

With only four works comprising this concise display of imagery, the viewer is led along an asymmetrical path that meanders while somehow maintaining a sense of perfect balance. Prominently positioned in the space, a large flat screen opens a window where one can gaze from a train, losing herself in the hypnotic repetition of an urban landscape, feeling a sense of being neither here nor there. Nearby, a static view of clouds circumscribed with care-free marks offers a sobering counterpoint. Followed by a pulsating whisper from the adjacent wall, one is called to lean in and listen closer. Across the room, the final act offers a fractured “still” life, one reduced to a gradient palette of subtle tones and colors that never quite settle into place.

Welitoff’s career has demonstrated her ability to refine visual gestures into something sincere and pure through a process of discovering how little we really need to communicate something profound. This new work shows us that even the rarefied feelings she can produce still call out for us to find them in an even deeper, elemental state—one that eludes us all too often, and even less often finds a stable conduit to bring it to the fore.

“The Feeling of a Feeling” is on view at ​Anthony Greaney until June 23rd, Friday and Saturday, 12 – 7pm ​and by appt.

Anthony Greaney // Pictures Efface Walls, 438 Somerville Avenue, Somerville, MA, 02312