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Parrish Art Museum presents a mixed-media installation of monumental prints and immersive LED walls
Clifford Ross, Wave LXXX (Wood), triptych, 2017. Cured inkjet print on wood 148 ! 225".

WATER MILL, NY.- Platform is the Parrish Art Museum’s open-ended invitation to a single artist to consider the entire Museum as a potential site for works that transcend disciplinary boundaries, encouraging new ways to experience art, architecture, and the landscape. This year, Platform features multimedia artist Clifford Ross, who engages with several areas of the Museum, including the exterior south wall of the Museum, interior entrance lobby and locations within the Parrish collection galleries, for his mixed media installation, Light | Waves.

“Clifford Ross’s fascination with the ocean off the shore of Long Island gains new meaning with his immersive installation at the Parrish that places the viewer into the midst of crashing hurricane waves in a building situated between two bodies of water,” said Parrish Art Museum Director Terrie Sultan. “Using new media of his own invention, Ross creates a tension between representation and imagination, realism and abstraction, and ultimately reveals a different ‘truth’ about the ocean.”

The project features two distinct elements: Hurricane Waves on Wood, large-scale prints of images from his Hurricane Waves series, printed directly onto sheets of maple veneer; and Digital Waves, an extremely high resolution computer-generated simulation of over three million moving particles, deployed on LED screens that recreate the experience of oceans and waves.

Hurricane Waves on Wood features six large-scale prints of photographs from the Hurricane Waves, captured during storms directly off the Long Island coast in East Hampton while the artist was tethered to an assistant on land. Ross recently applied a new method of digitally printing the images directly onto sheets of hand selected, matching maple veneer—a wood notable for the liveliness of its grain and warm color—using ultra-violet cured ink and a commercial printer. Each composite work measures 12 x 19 feet.

Digital Waves, a computer-generated 3D world, enables viewers to not only observe an artificially recreated environment, but also immerse themselves into a virtual ocean and experience moving waves from many different points of view. The Museum’s lobby has been illuminated by an 18 x 18 foot LED wall, and the exterior south wall has been lit up by two 50 foot wide LED walls, clearly visible from the Montauk Highway.

“With the image and material brought together in this way, a tension is created which mimics the drama of the ocean itself,” said Ross, who has invented and patented new camera systems that elevate the specific details captured by the photographic process to an entirely new level. “Unlike the experience of viewing traditional photographs on paper, with the Wood Waves the viewer is caught in a conundrum—between awareness of the image and awareness of the material on which it is printed. The drama of the image is matched by the lively nature of the media itself. The goal is to heighten our appreciation of our environment in a way that makes maximum use of the grace and power of the Museum’s Herzog & de Meuron building. Visitors should come away from the exhibition with their role as observers of nature sharpened.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Museum is presenting several related programs, including an inter-disciplinary symposium focusing on themes related to water on Friday, September 22. Panels, talks, and workshops will explore water both as an artistic inspiration and as a resource threatened by climate change.

“Bringing together artists with experts from diverse disciplines including architects, designers, policymakers, farmers, fishermen, technologists, and scientists is a means to engage the artist as the conduit to finding creative solutions to water management and protection on Long Island’s East End and beyond,” said Corinne Erni, Curator of Special Projects and event organizer.

Clifford Ross began his career as a painter and sculptor after graduating from Yale University in 1974. In 1994, after many years of painting and sculpting, Ross became interested in photography, devoting himself to intensive experimentation in the darkroom, exploring his realistic and abstract tendencies. He began his well-known Hurricane Wave series in 1996, entering the surf during extreme weather, often up to his neck. His photographic techniques expanded over time, using digital methods, inkjet printing, and ultimately developing his unique method of printing on wood. In 2002, Ross invented and patented his revolutionary R1 camera. Using this camera he produced his Mountain series—images of Mount Sopris in Colorado. These photographs are some of the highest resolution, large-scale landscape photographs in the world. With Digital Waves, he continues to explore the lyrical qualities of the sea through a radical, new technique for generating computer-based videos, which involves the use of LED walls. His inspiration for this new work comes from his still photographs as well as art history—specifically Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings, Morris Louis’s Veils, and the seascapes of J.M.W. Turner.

Ross’s first computer-based video, Harmonium Mountain I, released in 2010, featured an original score by Philip Glass. At a recent multi-screen version at MASS MoCA, the video was accompanied by live musicians including the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Bang-on-a-Can, Cibo Matto, and Real Estate. The installation was part of Landscape Seen & Imagined, a major mid-career survey of Ross's work. In conjunction with the exhibition, MIT Press published two companion books, Hurricane Waves and Seen & Imagined: The World of Clifford Ross, including essays by David Anfam, Quentin Bajac, Phong Bui, Jay Clarke, Arthur Danto, Jack Flam, Nicholas Negroponte, Jock Reynolds, Orville Schell, and Joe Thompson. Ross’s work has been the subject of many international exhibitions and can be found in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

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