At the intersection of art and science

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BRATTLEBORO — "Visions and Explorations," a photography exhibit by Gene Parulis, is on display at Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts (MGFA) until April 14. Parulis will give an Artist Talk this Saturday, March 23 at 5 p.m. at MGFA, 183 Main St.

Parulis explains that beauty is a major component of his show - where art and science meet. He quotes Albert Einstein, "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science." Parulis is most interested in the mystical aspects of science. "The investigation of the staggering reality, the inexplicable creations that we have - where art and science do align." Experimentation is something his approach shares with Science. This is where mirroring, color changes, and transformations of all sorts enter the picture.

TRAVEL AND REFLECTIONS

The themes of travel and reflections provide the contents, tools and theme of this exhibit. Since childhood, Parulis has been intrigued by the idea of a parallel universe and mirrored images. He always wanted to venture into the implicit "what if?" on the other side of the looking glass. He is "fascinated by the liminal zone where mirrored images coalesce and bring forth strange new forms, beings and ideas." This exhibition deals with the lyrical, the poetic, and the imaginative - the world of dreams.

"When I was 21, I started traveling and spent a good amount of time in Europe. I really liked France because of the art, architecture and literature." He continues, "It is also the layerings of history on landscapes of great beauty, as well as echoes of antiquity." He is a long distance walker and walked hundreds of miles on France's footpath network. It is also the people and the language which Parulis cherishes.

He also points out that, "You can have the experience of the exotic right in your backyard. To find something that is stunning or arresting, you get to savor the moment." Walking on a friend's land in Dummerston on a perfect fall day he captured the image which is the basis for "Sanctuary," one of the photographs in his exhibit. It might take him several months before he finds the colors he likes. In "Sanctuary" the colors of blue, purple, magenta, and mauve all create a sense of spiritual impact, adding serenity and tranquility, Parulis notes.

There are two tree-based photographs in this exhibit: "Deva Island" and "Mid- Winter's Dream" which convey the charm of a New England woodland in winter. He explains, "Deva Island is a dream configuration of a forested island, it also has undertones of the mythical in there. The tree epitomizes the idea of a connecting line between heaven and earth. It connects from the subterranean to the celestial."

Parulis and his wife, Fiona, who is English, have lived in southern Vermont for nearly 30 years. They have spent years in England and the photograph in the exhibit called "Green and Pleasant Land" is pure England.

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When asked what he most likes about living in Vermont, Parulis said, "There is a lot of vitality in the area. It's a community of artists, who support and inspire each other." He adds, "Vermont is a unique world. It has so much beauty. The four seasons each have radically different atmospheres. I love the experience of living in the forest because I love trees."

THE MIRROR VERSE

Parulis recalls English Poet William Blake who "urged us to cleanse the doors of perception" and, for Parulis, venturing into the mirror verse is just that. He explains that it is there he is freed from expectations, logic and constraints; the landscape becomes mindscape or soul scape and the improbable becomes possible. "The mirror verse flows with peculiar enchantment - starting, beguiling, it's humorous and profound at once. The mirror verse is fun, always looking for faces, adventure, and a curious new experience." A fusion of different mirrors, some of the photographs have one, two, three, four and even five mirrored images.

He talks about playing with symmetry: "We human beings love symmetry. Our brains are programed to see it and to identify it." Parulis' friend from Houston recently noted, that "the works in this show are an antidote to the constant stressful battering of the news cycle." Parulis agrees, "I think we feel out of balance so we crave symmetry. I hope this show will give people something beautiful to look at and to ponder."

THE PROCESS

In the solitude of his digital photography lab with its powerful tools and subtle palettes, he reflects on the deeper significance of where he has been and what he brought back from his travels. These latest dye infused aluminum prints show a continued fascination with digitally reconfigured photographs. He uses digital single lens reflex (SLR) cameras by Cannon and Photoshop for editing. He remarks that the Photoshop process is very involved and it can go on for months.

"I love the way he creates his own worlds. He wants people to have their own experience," says Petria Mitchell, co-founder of MGFA. She continues, "Gene's photographs offer an experience of an uncanny reality - while feeling grounded in landscape one quickly becomes engaged in a sense of balance beyond the visual." MGFA features innovative works by midcareer and established artists in a variety of media.

"Visions and Explorations" is on view at the Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts until April 14. Parulis will give an Artist Talk this Saturday, March 23 at 5 p.m. at MGFA, 183 Main Street in Brattleboro. The audience will hear about his reflections, breakthroughs, his fascination with the dream world and mirror verse, the forest experience, and answer questions. For more information, visit www.gene parulis.com, mitchellgiddingsfinearts.com or call 802-251-8290.


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