Painting in Light - The Berkshire Edge
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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Painting in Light

April 5 @ 8:00 am - April 6 @ 5:00 pm

The Cornwall Library is excited to present artist Bela Selendy’s latest images, Complexity and Emergence, a photographic rumination on what he calls the “momentary and highly improbable confluence of events that is the reason we are all here at this indefinable moment.”

He is not thinking of the confluence of your parents at the dance where they chanced to meet. He is thinking of the twisted love of subatomic ingredients—protons, electrons, neutrons, quarks, muons, gluons, mesons, neutrinos—that together build every object and life form in the universe. For Selendy is that rare creature, an artist with a quantum mechanics sensibility. Consider what he studied as an undergraduate: philosophy, art, sciences, philosophy of art, and philosophy of science.  It had to lead to something special.

How does Selendy realize his visions of confluence, which of course include randomness, uncertainty, and improbability? He starts by creating an ephemeral sculpture—a temporary artwork that only occurs once in time, like a happening or cosmic synchronicity.  (The sculptures for images in this show consist of discarded pottery and wood from Cornwall workshops.) Then, using a photographic technique called light painting, Selendy initiates dozens of nonstop long-exposure photographs of the sculpture from a fixed camera, while all the time dancing around the sculpture with a modified flashlight, creating a different lighting effect for each exposure.

To evaluate the resulting image, Selendy opens the entire sequence of exposures as layers of one image in Photoshop and allows only the lighter regions of each layer to filter through to the layers below. Then he decides if the image is worth keeping. He says, “There is a great deal of randomness and serendipity built into the process, as beams of light cancel shadows or reinforce a texture brought forth by an earlier splash, and much depends on my patience and ability to visualize the final composite as I flit from spot to spot with the flashlight.”

If the image is up to the indefinable moment, Selendy takes the sculpture down and moves on to the next highly improbable event in his artistic career. That is lucky for us. The images that survive this process are striking and unique. All images in the show are giclée-printed on Hahnemuhle fine art paper, using archival pigments. They are 16 x 20” unframed and available for purchase.

Bela Selendy is a native of Cornwall. Educated at Hotchkiss, he continued to the University of Chicago before moving to Sweden. He returned to Cornwall in 2020.

The artist’s opening reception is from 5–7 pm on February 24.  Registration is requested for the reception at


April 5 @ 8:00 am
April 6 @ 5:00 pm