A sprawling still life and a tableau of the objects’ cast shadows, which, when viewed through 3D glasses, coalesce into a stereoscopic image.
A collaboration between Nicholas Steindorf and Kyle Williams who create projects together as Blinn & Lambert
We are both painters, and the questions about light that motivate our practice come from that tradition. How we use light to transform a still image from something one looks at to something one watches. How can we make a drawing with light? How can we use light to transform a legible picture to a phenomenological experience? How can an image made with light describe material, hold time, or elicit a sense of presence.
These questions led us to explore the use of projected light to create live stereoscopic shadows. Working at the Plaxall Gallery has enabled us to expand a body of work that has been foundational to our four-year collaboration.Nicholas Steindorf and Kyle Williams, 2020
NNAATTUURRAA MMOORRTTAA is an installation of a sprawling still life and a tableau of the objects’ cast shadows, which, when viewed through 3D glasses, coalesce into a cohesive stereoscopic image. This work continues the exploration of 3D shadows that we have pursued through our extensive work with stereoscopy and projected light. The work’s title plays on the Italian phrase for still life, natura morta, doubling each letter in reference to the doubled, offset shadows that make up the installation.
Installing NNAATTUURRAA MMOORRTTAA at Plaxall Gallery has been an opportunity to experiment with the endlessly strange characteristics of these images. Each shadow-image that each object and material produces is unexpectedly different from its real original form, as refracted light reveals invisible textures and creates its own new “virtual” material. The shadow-still-life also exists in multiple perspective schemes. The stretched linear perspective of flattened shadows interacts with the oppositely-oriented phenomenological perspective of stereoscopic vision—and any viewer can see a wholly different arrangement of space and perspective simply by reversing their glasses. Any subtle changes to the objects on the table can result in dynamic shifts in the 3D projected image above it.
NNAATTUURRAA MMOORRTTAA is in conversation with a wide and varied history of optical media – from Dutch still life painting to 3D movies, from the virtual textures of computer graphics to the long tradition of shadow plays. Our ongoing exploration of light is grounded in these overlapping conversations.
Nicholas Steindorf and Kyle Williams work in moving-image and projected light under their collaborative name “Blinn and Lambert.” Their work, including stereoscopic shadow installations, frame-by-frame animations, and multi-projector slideshows, focuses on simple, silent objects and their presence on screen. Their practice is motivated by the history of image-making technologies—CGI interfaces, Dutch still life paintings, practical cinema effects, 3D glasses—and the way these technologies can be paradigms for describing time, material, and presence.
The duo was drawn together by shared sensibilities for deadpan humor and pacing, as well as a shared commitment to experimentation and haphazard invention. The works they create reflect both these impulses: in part they are the unpredictable results of hamfisted experiments and self-taught processes, and in part are attempts to hone a sensibility whose mixture of restraint and expressivity is sui generis.
Blinn and Lambert have exhibited at Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, NY; Selena’s Mountain in Queens; NY; ArtSpace in New Haven, CT; and PIX Film in Toronto. They have been awarded residencies at the LIFT Film Studio Immersion Program in Toronto and at the Institute for Electronic Arts at Alfred University, NY. Their studio is located in Long Island City, Queens.