A Tour of Perception Abstraction at Beacon Gallery

While I don’t use Thoughts on Art as a place for promotion of my gallery, I have worked very hard on putting up this latest show, as well as putting together an exhaustive virtual tour on the beacongallery.com blog despite the difficulties of current events. In addition, my blog has been a bit thin on content recently due to COVID-19 due to the fact that I’m currently at home caring for my family, so I figured I’d treat you all to a piece of writing done for my “other” job!

(And, if you have any interest in knowing what my day-to-day is, I was thinking of writing a blog post on that, but not sure if there’s an appetite to read – comment if you’re interested!)

A Tour of Perception Abstraction

Given that Perception Abstraction, Steven Edson and Fern L. Nesson’s two-artist show is currently closed to visitors, we wanted to give you an online preview! We hope to be open to the public again by June 1, depending on current events. In the meantime, enjoy the artwork virtually. Send us an inquiry if you’re interested in any of the works! 

Coming into the gallery one is initially greeted by Steven Edson’s piece Reflections on Cloud Gate, which sits on a dark blue wall underneath the title of the show and the two artists names. 

To the right sits a smaller pair of pieces, one by Nesson, one by Edson. They exist as inverses to each other. Edson’s Wired is black marks on a white background. It has the look of a finely wrought Franz Klein painting. Nesson’s piece, Untitled 3, is completely black yet illuminated horizontally by the time-lapse of knots of light. 

Turning back towards the stairs, one sees a pair of Nesson’s photographs . A ring swings on a pendulum, its shadow perfectly captured in a spotlight. Next to it, less obvious circular forms cut diagonally in and out of the shadows. 

Nesson’s Untitled 7 (left) and Untitled 11 (right)

In fact, all of Nesson’s photography is derived directly from captured images, and they are not photomanipulated in any way. One may marvel at that fact when seeing works such as Untitled 1, 2 or 12. And yet – her work is all photographed in our “real world” rather than created digitally. 

In the images above (Untitled 12, 2 and 1 from top to bottom) luminous lines swoop across black backgrounds. Movement and color draw the eye while the curtain of dark behind each is a foundation of calm. Nesson has a goal of creating living works of art that embody the moment when mass becomes energy. These three pieces as well as other striking examples of Nesson’s photography line the wall across from the stairs.

An installation shot 

Just around the corner from the steps are two large and colorful works by Steve Edson. These pieces anchor the front of the gallery and offer a glimpse into how Edson translates items, images and concepts into pure graphic abstractions. 

The glossy The Art of the Automobile: 1939 Bugatti 57C transforms a classic car into sensuous ripples and infinite reflections. 

Steve Edson, The Art of the Automobile: 1939 Bugatti 57C

Next to 1939 Bugatti 57C is Edson’s States of Matter, a playful, oversized print that plays with perspective and line. Edson is constantly playing in his photography and working on new ways to see the very basics of artistic expression: form, light, color, lines and narrative story telling. This piece demonstrates his ability to find beauty in what many might see as mundane. 

Steve Edson, States of Matter

At the other end of the gallery, States of Matter plays off Celestial Musings. This similarly hued piece is another typical piece of Edson’s – beauty and mystery wrought from the everyday.

Celestial Musings installation

Here, we are confronted with tree filled with small holiday lights, something many of us might not give a second glance while on a walk. And yet, through Edson’s viewfinder, the magic of the tree, with its illumination and the fractal patterns of its small, dark branches in the cobalt distance, the tree comes alive. 

Steven Edson, Celestial Musings

Between these two pieces, one with branches elongating towards the heavens, and one with lines curving back towards the earth, a series of Nesson’s geometrical prints stretch horizontally from the front of the gallery to the back. In addition to Untitled 1, 2, and 12, the wall includes Untitled 4, 6, 8, 9 and 10. These pieces all feature Nesson’s signature style with mysterious, elegant contours emerging from darkness . 

At the end of this long gallery wall, two pieces, one by Nesson (Untitled 05) and one by Edson (Road Paint 01) complement each other with similar shades of green and playful curved lines and angles. 

Across from this long wall sits a series of five pieces; an intermingling of Nesson and Edson’s works. 

(from L to R) Steven Edson, Architectural Detail, Fern Nesson Untitled 14, Fern Nesson Untitled 15, Steven Edson The Art of the Automobile: 1937 Ford Grill 

These pieces demonstrate one of the essential differences between the artists work: Edson’s pieces often start with a physical item from which he creates an abstraction. On the other hand Nesson’s work often abstracts from pure light. The visual effects might create similar patterns, but artists’ creative processes are completely different. 

Rounding out this vignette of lines and rows is Corn Husks in Snow, another piece by Steve Edson which again creates an abstract image from the title image. 

Steven Edson, Corn Husks in Snow
Installation shot of the corner

We are lucky to have a large gallery space with a hall and small sitting area towards the back. With all the fabulous work available, we couldn’t resist filling every wall with artwork. The hallway features the two following pieces by Edson and Nesson. 

The piece above, Inverse Relationships by Steven Edson, like a few others in the gallery, was printed by Blazing Editions on aluminum and looks spectacular in the light. It also is a great complementary piece to Celestial Musings just around the corner. Edson’s digital manipulation creates a mesmerizing image that is even more stunning in person. 

Across the hall, Nesson’s piece, Untitled 13, is another example of her masterful use of light and shadow. The shapes in this piece toy with the viewer’s eye as one seeks to make sense of the image. 

Fern L Nesson, Untitled 13

At the back of the gallery is small room with two of Edson’s pieces devoted to the natural world. 

Steven Edson, Forest for the Trees
Steven Edson, Suspended Animation

Forest for the Trees and Suspended Animation take natural phenomena or images without any manipulation and remind us of the abstract patterns and beauty that naturally surround us every day, from the crown of trees to the ice bubbles under our feet. 

Installation shot

Thank you for taking this tour of Steven Edson and Fern Nesson’s Perception Abstraction at Beacon Gallery! We also need to give a big thanks to Nova Art Handling for the art installation, Blazing Editions, Gordon Ink, Felton Street Framers and Panopticon Imaging for printing the work, and New England Sign and Design for the lettering of the show. 

When we are able to hold an event for this fabulous exhibition in person, we hope you’ll join us! 

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