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March 7th, 2024

“Landscapes of Transcendence” Reviewed by Ben Rendich in “Trixie’s List”

SEFA was recently featured in Trixie’s List! Read on for a great article by 

Our exhibition Landscapes of Transcendence: Scenes of Ethereality is on view at our Hudson location through March 24th. Come check out this contemporary photography show!

Transcendent Turbulence: A Quartet of Women Artists Bring Refracted Natural Views to Warren Street

A couple weekends ago, I had the delight of visiting two galleries on Warren Street – both featuring women artists who offer sustained yet refracted views of nature in their work.

The first of these galleries, Susan Eley Fine Art, presents Scenes of Ethereality – which is the second half of its two-part wintertime exhibition titled “Landscapes of Transcendence”. Indeed, the name is apt, as each of the three photographers on display uses long exposures to subvert her medium’s temporal limitations.

Heather Boose Weiss captures serene yet elusive black-and-white images that contemplate the parameters of a “moment.” Evocative of ancient hieroglyphics as well as Ansel Adams, these lush, glamorous photographs linger on natural glory while inflecting organic entities – like a waterfall or a constellation – with a selective, patient gaze.


Furthermore, by putting her own presence before the lens – be it through manipulated sediment, as in Navajo Sand, or her own shadow, as in Untitled (Sedona) – Boose Weiss invites the viewer to consider how human interactions might harmonize with the earth, accentuating its grace.



Her objectives are echoed by Carolyn Monastra in a series of color prints, which similarly use long exposures to break up and re-synthesize our relationship to trees and sky. Created with the intention of exploring forests’ “mythical” qualities, Monastra’s photographs are nonetheless distinctly modern – often resembling the midpoint between two dissolving frames in a movie.

In particular, her lovely, dark and deep series revels in a kind of watery juxtaposition, each piece layering fractions of the same twilight scene into a haunting vision of a retiring Arcadia. Staring at her work, you feel caught in the crosshairs of time; there’s a foreboding mysticism to these images that is also somehow soothing.



If Monastra’s long exposures are subdued by dusk, however, Leah Oates’ startle with their flecks of light. Her series, titled Transitory Space, focuses on pockets of life found in New York’s Prospect Park and Jamaica Bay. A pond of lilies, an arching bough of bright green leaves – these are determinedly optimistic images that sing with the thrill (familiar to any New Yorker) of a glimpsed patch of sky, or of a verdant canopy during a stroll through the park.

And while Oates’ collection of topiary-centric photographs constitute the bulk of her work at Susan Eley, there are also a few pieces that harbor a more glittery, lucent quality. Informally referred to as her “dot” series, these photographs by Oates dazzle with speckled sunlight on lakes or wetlands – and they harmonize beautifully with Boose Weiss’ Light on Water, which punctuates the show.

Taken together, these three artists showcase a remarkably discerning yet sensual regard for earthen beauty. And if one walks two blocks west, arriving at the doorstep of Pamela Salisbury Gallery, there is yet another artist whose work deepens our understanding of how one might relate to nature’s changeable qualities.