WAVEFRONT Issue Spring 1987
TORONTO S CLAUDETTE ABRAMS
by Al Razutis
CANADIAN HOLOGRAPHER Claudette Abrams is currently preparing a
solo exhibition, entitled Personal Effects, at Interference Gallery in
Toronto in May.
This exhibition will feature the installation of three large-format
holograms produced at John Perry's Holographics North. The imagery will
be suggestive of the ocean floor (with scattered remnants of our
civilization). Transmission holograms of the ocean scene will be
integrated with actual aquariums containing live fish, the intended
effect being a kind of live-holographic interactive seascape. This
project seems to be an extension of her earlier Aqua Scape #1 (1985)
which also featured holograms integrated with aquariums.
Abrams started her holographic studies in 1977 at the Ontario
College of Art and later continued with Dan Schweitzer of New York
Holographic Laboratories in 1982.
Her main focus is holographic installation work which integrates
multiple plates (in a kind of animated sequence) with constructed
settings. For example, her Still Life (1984) combined eight white-light
reflection holograms suspended in a gallery space (in a horseshoe
configuration) around a bed; the holograms were illuminated by lights
controlled by a sequencer or chaser which produced an animating flicker
effect of images simulating movement. In her artist's statement, Abrams
asserts the following:
"As an artist, I pursue the evolution of thought. My works are
my thought contrived. I say contrived because it is impossible to
express one's experiences in thought in any other form..."
Drawing on a background in photography and gallery administration
Abrams has continued to explore the holographic medium from an other
than representational (mimetic) perspective. Her interests in " thoughts
contrived" seem to be akin to some aspects of surrealism, in which much effort was
aimed at making the unconscious "concrete".
Although Abrams has exhibited extensively as part of group
holographic exhibitions, her works are limited in number This condition,
we may speculate, is largely due to the scarcity of holographic
facilities in Canada. Some of her work was produced in the
artist-in-residence program at Fringe Research (1984) but even in this project, she
indicated that hands-on access was limited by lab policy.
Abrams' current work, however, represents a more ambitious direction
and this is partially due to a holography grant she received from the
Canada Council in 1986. Lacking access to Canadian facilities of a
required quality, she has taken her work to the state-of-the-art lab at Perry's Holographic
North. "I am continuing to work in large-format transmission holography," she adds,
"and the new work I have in progress calls for pulsed masters." It is too early yet to determine whether this new
direction will be carried out in Toronto or whether Abrams will again
have to go to the U.S. for state-of-the-art facilities.