As a professor at Suffolk Community College, I often receive invitations to events that colleagues hold around the three main campuses. A particular exhibit caught my attention. Titled Resplendent Water, it was described as a photographic installation by Professor JoAnn Dumas to be held at the Lyceum Gallery on the Eastern Campus.
Being a water baby sign, I naturally gravitate to water, so this event caught my attention. Now mind you, I have never been to the Eastern Campus in Riverhead. I teach at the Ammerman Campus in Selden, so my first challenge was finding the place.
I am a Nassau County kid, transplanted out to Suffolk County. To me, the Tanger Outlets are pretty far out. I have been to the wineries on the North Fork and to the Hamptons on the South Fork, but my comfort zone is primarily Port Jefferson and the surrounding towns. So after making several wrong turns, I finally found my way to the Eastern Campus.
Now, my next challenge was locating the Lyceum Gallery. I wound up touring a few buildings, not deliberately, only to be told each time that I was in the wrong place. Finally, I made my way to the largest building off the quadrangle, the library. Upon entering I only had to look to my left to realize I had indeed found my destination.
I proceeded to the middle of the room and was instantly surrounded by a host of colors displayed on intriguing pallets. What struck me as particularly original about these photos was Ms. Dumas’ vantage point. She didn’t simply display photos of the ocean, or a beach or a stream. Instead, inspired by the properties of moving water, she responded with magnified views.
Like a dancer focusing on the rhythmic motion of every step, Ms. Dumas does the same through the lens of her camera. She depicts movement not only within the photograph, but with the materials she chooses to display her photography. For example, there are two banners hung in front of a window. These banners are made of translucent rice paper allowing the sun to glow through. Intense reds and greens undulate across the banners becoming intensified from the light of the sun.
One of my favorites is a metallic wave of water representing constant motion as it weaves across a panel. On a far wall is a group of panels, each depicting dancing reflections in a plethora of colors from soothing greens and blues to lively reds and yellows. Another wall depicts a grouping of waves threaded with diamond dust, creating a hypnotic effect.
Ms. Dumas’ wall hanging of three panels curving in and out, representing waves themselves, is also a fascinating entry. The end result is reminiscent of Monet’s “Water Lilies.” She deliberately chose not to use frames around the photos, allowing for a sense of freedom from constraints.
We Long Islanders love our water and enjoy the ability to escape rather easily to a nearby beach.
I enthusiastically invite you to run to JoAnn Dumas’ Resplendent Water. You will become immersed in the serenity as well as the turbulence as you wade through her wonderful work.
Visit the Lyceum Gallery on the Suffolk Community College Eastern Campus in Riverhead before October 24 and you will never see water the same way again.