Where it’s at

Travel through nanoseconds and forests

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 10:00am

Story Location:
53 Townsend Avenue
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
United States

    The autumn equinox is Sept. 22, at approximately 3:21 p.m. We will welcome a new season and bid farewell to summer. And with summer’s passing, we will also be saying goodbye to a few of our seasonal art galleries.

    Studio 53 will be closing at September’s end and there’s some great art to be experienced there! Gallery owners Heidi Seidelhuber and Terry Seaman’s new work, which premiered in late May, is also the show closing their 2021 season.

    Heidi’s latest paintings are super impressionistic, which is a bit of a departure for her. These paintings illustrate the adage less is more. They got me thinking about her work back in 2017, “Footbridge Relics Revisited” in particular. In that series, Heidi was showing us our beloved footbridge from different angles bordering on the abstract. They were great.

    This season, Heidi takes us to Washington state, where she and Terry live fall and winter. They aren’t too far from Mt. Rainier, well, their horses are only 30 miles from there. Yes, they raise horses and Heidi rides a few of them in equestrian competitions. But back to the art.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch (sorry I couldn’t resist … horses … ranch ... never mind), Terry was spending every waking moment last year trying to put Bach into quantum physics. For those of you unfamiliar with Terry’s work, it is like nothing you’ve seen before.

    “What I’m trying to show here (latest work Aug. 27) is one nanosecond in the life of a brand new atomic system inside one atom. If that atom could be made to stand still, no matter how big you blew it up, you’d never find anything in the atom. Basically there’s only two things in there: the nucleus and some number of electrons. The nucleus ... is 99.9% of the mass of the atom, but it’s only one-billionth of the size of the atom … so how are you going to find it if it’s standing still?”

    How indeed! How many of us actually think about atoms and nanoseconds on a daily basis? This is why I have to let him explain it, so you can get the full effect ...

    “And then the electrons are one-billionth size of the nucleus, which is one-billionth the size of the atom, so they’re really, really tiny. But if you turn the clock on for one nanosecond, which is one-billionth of a second, those little electrons spinning around in there, they travel 1% of the speed of light, tilted away from the nucleus. In that one billionth of a second each of those electrons are making around 3,000 orbits inside the atom. So now, in theory, you could find them because they’re everywhere at once, and you can see them … it’s really complicated.”

    Remember I just asked who else thinks about this stuff? Well, here’s a short recounting for you: Early in the season, Terry was explaining some of his work to a visitor: “So, I’m pontificating on all this stuff and he stops me in the middle and he says ‘Stop. I know all this stuff, I’m a nuclear physicist’ ... but he was genuinely impressed by the whole thing. And that was a real compliment.”

    They talked for quite awhile ... and that must have been quite the conversation, albeit over most of our heads, but fascinating just the same.

    Where does he begin? He mathematically lays out the foundation of a new painting. No, he doesn’t use grids because they’re “too simple ... they’re for sissies. I use my own mathematical progressions, not repetitions.”

    On top of all the intricacies of his work, he also paints in watercolor. You’d definitely have to have that water-paint ratio down to not obliterate an entire painting. Then there are the graphite drawings with over 40,000 lines. The painting is entitled, “J.S. Bach Inspired Nanosecond Quantum Fugue.” Check it out … just plan on spending a goodly amount of time in front of that painting alone. It’s mind-boggling, fascinating and, as I always describe Terry’s work, mind-bending, to us, that is.

    Back in Seattle, Heidi’s new series of paintings were inspired by her drives along the two-lane roads traveled on the way to see her horses. She sees those roads as downhill ski racing courses. Heidi is a passionate downhill skier. In her artist statement she writes, “I don’t deny the road doubles as a ski racing course. I am keenly aware of the viability of the shoulders.”

    What I love at first glance with these new paintings is all of the greens. It is my favorite color, for starters, and it’s the color of nature, right? I really like “Road to the Summer Cabin.” A road winds through a heavily forested area, there’s a sliver of blue sky in one small section, but enough to imagine there’s a sun in the sky because of the varying degrees of shading amongst the trees. It also reminds me of a stretch of road through Devil’s Hopyard in East Haddam, Connecticut. It’s my favorite place in Connecticut, and I still visit that place of youthful adventures (and a few misadventures).. I can feel that sense of peace and awe that overtakes you driving through such scenery.

    Another one I must mention is “Hood Point Road,” depicting a scene along Hood Canal. I imagine coming upon all this light through the darkness of the forest and being overcome by the joy of passing through both worlds on a single road.

    At Studio 53, too, there are many roads to travel that begin and end with your imagination. Passage is possible there through Sept. 30.