additional reporting by Amanda Bloom
La Galerie Chartier, a new and innovative gallery and performing space serving the Greater New Haven area, is focused on an under-represented medium in Connecticut – video. Located at 35 Elizabeth Street in downtown Derby, Chartier is owned by a triage of artists: Russell Chartier, Paul Botelho, and Jill Treadwell, who also serves as the gallery’s manager.
Marshal McLuhan, a pioneer in communications theory, described video “as a window to the world.” In a time just before technology was used as the primary way to connect and send messages, visionaries like McLuhan, Nam June Paik – thought to be the world’s first video artist – and Woody and Steina Vasulka – credited with bringing the first video art exhibits to the Whitney Museum in the 1970s – sought to find the hidden beauty within the shell of the computer and the television. As a tribute to these video artists and and the 50th anniversary of the birth of the medium, Chartier is organizing the Northeastern United States chapter of the worldwide video art exhibition, ‘100×100=900,’ in August of this year.
‘100×100=900’ will feature one hundred videos of five minutes or less, each one meditating on one specific year from the 1900s. The goal is to create a global narration of the past century via the moving image – the very technology that defined those one hundred years.
“We are teamed with venues from across the globe for this event,” said Chartier in an interview, explaining that the goal of the exhibition is to create a worldwide archive of video art the can be shared, and grown, collectively. Galerie Chartier, however, is too small a space to accommodate the screening of ‘100,’ and the trio is currently seeking a suitable venue and additional funding via Kickstarter to bring the exhibition to fruition. Those interested in learning more about the fundraiser can visit Chartier’s campaign here.
Video Art from the Permanent Collection of Galerie Chartier
Chartier and Botelho combined two individual projects to represent the year 1999 for ‘100’; ‘”1999 Deconstructed,” four minutes of Botelho’s moody, delicate piano and stirring images of roaming lights, numbers, and protest, is currently in broadcast rotation at the Paris-based television network Art Television, viewable online at oart.tv. “1999”, which Chartier designed not to lead or inform an audience but to encourage diverse and individual reactions, will serve as the finale in the exhibition.
Treadwell’s interest in interactive media began at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico, where her studies with the aforementioned Vasulkas involved dubbing archival tapes, introducing her to the edginess of video art and its community. She now works as a writer, poet, and video artist and is currently in the process of publishing a memoir, The Molecules That Surround Us. Treadwell is also working on an interactive media installation with Woody and Steina Vasulka featuring her and New Mexico-based writer Melody Sumner Carnahan’s collaborations in writing, poetry, and what Carnahan has dubbed “philosophical noetics” – short, abstract statements connecting philosophy and technology.” Along with Botelho and Chartier, Treadwell is also collaborator and star of of the internationally recognized “Devil on A Dam” short animation film, which explores the final moments of a woman’s life as she writes her death note.
Chartier’s focus in video art is in finding the inherent flaws of the medium. His process uses various techniques to create, deconstruct, and reassemble works to find their hidden beauty. In collaboration, Chartier and Bothelo create audiovisual works based on the principle of synchronicity – during the creative process, both artists are unaware to the other’s ideas, save for the agreement on the duration of the piece.
While the three gallery owners have a stout passion for video art, visitors to La Galerie Chartier can take in more than the medium of the moving picture; the gallery frequently hosts live music, spoken word events, and other facets of performance art. Painter Kimberly Joy Sessa is the gallery’s featured artist through April 14 and is sharing the space with photographers Carli Freeman and Jack Petritus and sculptors Andre Tourette and John Allen. ‘PAINTING + DRAWING + LIGHT,’ opening at Chartier on April 20, will feature three-dimensional drawer, painter, and sculptor Alan Neider, along with abstract painting by Ashleigh Kay and radiograph photography by Guinevere Freccia. Chartier is also now offering a 24/7 video streaming channel for the pieces currently on display at the gallery, viewable at worldtv.com.
La Galerie Chartier is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 8pm, Sunday from 3 to 6pm and by appointment at 35 Elizabeth Street in Derby, Connecticut. For more information, visit chartieranartsvenue.org or call (203)376-9243.