Lithuanian Overlay

Lithuanian Overlay

Artist Project with Stephen Berens at the USC Roski Station Gallery

Lithuanian Overlay is collaboration between Stephen Berens and Elizabeth Bryant combining work produced during a month-long residency at the Nida Art Colony in Nida, Lithuania, in 2012. While there Berens produced a site-specific installation and a series of large-scale photographs and Bryant produced a series of still lifes.

The large image that forms the backdrop of this work was made by Berens and is of one of the windows in their studio at Nida. It documents the space and many of the objects they brought with them for use during the residency (camera, film, small printer, etc.). The image references both traditional still lifes and self-portraits of the artist at work.

The Nida Arts Colony is sponsored by the Vilnius Academy of Art so a portion of their programming is devoted to summer workshops for art students from throughout the Baltic States. During the residency Bryant collected student projects that had been left behind by their makers and used them as the subject of a group of still lifes.

She photographed these objects both outdoors in the landscape and indoors in the studio space to produce four diptychs that reflect on the constructed object and the constructed landscape; what is made and also abandoned. Three of these diptychs are hung on the large photograph of the studio window amplifying existing layers of visual information and creating a meditation on place and object that now includes the Roski space with its window and display cases.

In the display cases are many of the objects seen in Berens’ photograph. The display cases act as frames, removing the objects from circulation and allowing them to function both as artifact and as image. The overall installation allows viewers to become what Roger Fry referred to in An Essay in Aesthetics as “true spectators, not selecting what we see but seeing everything equally.”