Fred Unterseher art hologram Kinetic Mandala abstract light art exhibited at the HoloCenter

Fred Unterseher

Fred Unterseher was a pioneer of holography.

His artistic work embodies the spiritual and sensual bring together his intellect, humor and empathy.  Combining holography with other media he expresses concepts and explores ideas of science, visual perception, light, kinetics, consciousness and community.  He views art as a condition that enhances and expands the experience of self-transformation.

With the artwork I was interested in capturing a moment that the viewer can interact with.  The hologram plays back a dimensional form of light where the viewer directs the sequence by their movements.  The emphasis remains on the viewer’s interactive experience with the work.  Each person experiences the many vantage points and sequences of movement as unique and different from one to the other, as well as different from one encounter to the next. 

In the words of Fu Yu “When you look it is formless, When you call, it echoes”
Fred Unterseher, 2013

HoloCenter Exhibitions and Projects

IRIDESCENCE‘, 2017 with Kinetic Figures (Holographic Art Grant)

Kinectic Figues fred Unterseher
Fred Unterseher hologram Kinectic Figures

‘Interference:Coexistence‘, 2013 with Sri Yantra Inspired Triangles, 1998

Fred Unterseher, Sri Yantra Inspired Triangles 1998

The ‘Kinetic Mandalas’ and ‘Yantra Series’ are artworks that involve my exploration over the past thirty years of light and spatial relationships in kinetic form. I blend technical media with the inspiration I
find in ancient sacred geometry. Technically the holograms can be described as off axis Fourier transform lens matrices – a type of holographic optical elements. This technique produces a single original white light viewable hologram of pure light alone and allows for a great degree of spontaneity. The color is a spectral blend of additive colors. In works such as these the viewer may see one color with the left eye and another with the right, bringing into question the process of seeing and what takes place in the brain to create a coherent image. I was particularly attracted to the immaterial nature of light, it cannot be manipulated physically like chiselling stone or working with other material media.

Artist Biography

The Light Foundry Team – C. (Alex Clark) Fred Unterseher (Awardee) and August Muth (owner/operator of The Light Foundry).

Fred Unterseher (center) with C. (aka Alex Clark, left) and August Muth (right) at The Light Foundry

Fred Unterseher was an honors graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute. While in the Bay area, he participated in the formation of cooperative artists projects including Project Artaud and The Emeryville Artists Coop. He was a member of ANT FARM an art/media collective famous for Cadillac Ranch and Media Burn. Unterseher was a pioneering member of the San Francisco School of Holography with Lloyd Cross and Gerry Pethick.  Later they formed the Multiplex Co. that produced stereographic holograms for Salvador Dali.  While in the Bay area he formed Holografix, an art studio and teaching facility, where he conceived and co-authored the HOLOGRAPHY HANDBOOK that has sold over 60,000 copies and received a Kodak Award. Concurrently he was a founder of Dichromate Inc. that originated and manufactured some of the fist dichromate holograms on film. In New York City, he was Director of Education and Outreach at the Museum of Holography. During four years in Europe he was based in Hamburg, showing artwork in England, France, Italy, Holland and Denmark. He and partner Rebecca Deem dealt with both artistic and the technical aspects of holography, by developing a pulse laser laboratory with Dr. John Webster used for both purposes. Their pioneering techniques integrated pulsed holograms with printed embossed holograms.

Returning to the States he was a team member for the first holographic portrait of a USA president, Ronald Reagan, now in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian.  Residing in Southern California, he taught in the graduate program at Brooks Institute of Photography and Holography at Pasadena City College. He is a recipient of the Shearwater Foundation, Art Holography Award. His involvement with 3D imaging systems led him to consult on SBIR projects dealing with (holographic/auto stereo-graphic screens) for NASA and JPL.  A member of SPIE, he served as the chairperson for the first Art & Culture Meeting at the Practical Holography Sessions in 2004. He and Deem taught 3D Visualization with Holography at NM Highlands Univ. in the Math and Computer Science Dept. Unterseher has shown artwork for many years at galleries, museums and educational institutions in Europe, North and South America and the East.  He resided in Santa Fe, NM until his death in 2021.

Memorial for Fred Unterseher