Gary Justis

Gary Justis
Bloomington, Illinois, US
April 04
Gary Justis has worked primarily in the area of kinetic sculpture for the last 34 years. He lived and worked in Chicago from 1977 to 1999. He currently resides in Bloomington Illinois, where he teaches and writes stories about his actual experiences. (please take a look at his "Sculpture" link for more info)


APRIL 26, 2012 8:36AM

A Professed Reality: two short videos

Rate: 26 Flag

Unending Sequence, 2012, macro video, light emitting diode, paper stencil,

dimensions variable


In understanding time’s mutability, we use stories to comprehend things otherwise invisible. As we think of light moving in a straight line, we thus understand time to have a similar linearity…moving from a single point, in one direction... This can be altered by the mind.

The properties of light in nature, inspires innumerable fictions when we use our illumination-based technologies. With film, video and projection, the indications of light in Nature seem to transmute to substance (within the illusion of the image) With these images, there is functionality with the physical and cerebral worlds…the unassailable photons in service to the imagination. Art emerges into its newly professed reality.

Candle Flame in the 5th Dimension, 2012, macro video, light emitting diode, electric motor, reflective aluminum tape, dc power source, dimensions variable
all content copyright © 2012 by Gary Justis

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Gary, your videos are a true inspiration for the fascinating possibilities beyond what we see others doing with the medium! Also, I have been wondering for a while how you are able to rotate the frame 90 degrees on many of the videos you have presented over the past year or so?
Thanks so much for coming over to see these John. I rotate the window with QuickTime pro, then upload to Flickr. When I embed it, Firefox allows me to re-size it as one would a picture file.
Gary,an indeed magical work.All so many questions I have in the technicallity...but how much I ρrefer feeling it.Rated!!p
How inspiring and lovely. You took me right out into the universe and made me question time and space, the illusions of our minds. Hopefully there will be a break through in how we view reality soon. Our mass hallucinations of the world are ever evolving and there is so much more around us that meets the eye. Amazing ART!!! Thank you.
Thanks Mr Stathi, I appreciate your visit!

Zanelle, I like the idea of a mass hallucination, especially regarding time. Thanks for taking a look and read!
Very, very cool; time's mutability indeed. I love this (and you, dear one).
Thank you so much for watching the vids Lauren. I hope the spring weather is kind to you in the west....ox
light seems to be the key to everything, you are correct, sir.
"When we talk about light, we are really speaking of time,
and how theories tell us there is elasticity
in the body’s relationship to space and motion.'
TIME IS A CONSTUCT that is also a sort of mundane
reality, an elastic medium that "means"
nothing except if one is conscious of it,
which we are, alone...

alone in the universe far as we know...

" Even in understanding time’s mutability,
we use stories
to comprehend things otherwise invisible"

that is the creed of any artist worth their...uh..time..

we are put upon this earth somehow,
and plunge down into timespace...
or, are constructed from it..
answer is not clear...

time is the enemy, it is money, they say.
they are
the ones who want to be forever, somehow, anyhow.
if ya got 1 milllion dollars, how can you out..
of time.
Every morning when I see light, I'm thankful for the time that accompanies. How profoundly analog both we and our world are, regardless of the means of capture and display. The artist who can evince as many reactions as there are viewers is masterful. Appreciated greatly.
James, you comment is totally wonderful in its rhythms and images. We have so many associations with the invention of is our dirty little construct, locking our souls inside the "bubble of duration."
Thanks so much....

Stacey, I'm touched so deeply by your poetic have a way of seeing to the heart of mine and many other's intentions. We are so profoundly analog, and that is our celestial blessing.....
i'm late to the party, gary, but i really enjoyed your commentary/explanation and watching the videos. the second one, with the juxtaposition of the blurred figure above and the more focused one below is mesmerizing. i especially like the remainder/time lapse feeling of the bottom figure, reminds me a little of the lantern in a lighthouse, those sharp edges. very nicely done, friend.
Candace, I'm so glad you looked closely enough to see the various aspects of time and sharpness of focus. The second image is my all time favorite. I felt it really conveyed a sense of semi-arrested time, along with a razor sharpness that seems to slice through space itself.
Thanks for your great, insightful comment.
I am utterly mesmerized by the candle piece. Fascinating and hypnotic. The connection between light and time has taken on an entirely new meaning to me, thanks to you. Thanks so much for alerting me to these videos.

Thanks for the videos, Gary.

As the Monty Python group might have said, "And now for something totally different." And "something totally different" is very welcome in these forums.

I love to play with light, reflection, refraction and such. Actually got several minutes of fun last week out of some oil that had been drawn up by a small pool of water in the golf cart crib at the course where I work. The subtle colors swirling around were fascinating--give a kid like me a stick to drive the motion and the moment results in lots of satisfaction and a huge grin.

Your play with light did that for me this morning. I appreciate the invitation.
I love the top one, the bottom one actually inspires slight stomach clenching fear (god if I know why)
laugh, sorry, been at the video games tonight, I'm a little trigger-happy on my mouse
Interesting. I love black and white. I also liked the sound, it reminded me of an old time movie running in a theater...
Love the candle shadow and light permutations in the last video. The slow blur and fast sharp....time's our way of keeping everything from happening at once.
What is it, Gary...what is it about your work that pricks at the skin, not painfully, but offering a kind of remembering...something we already know...we articulate that and still leave the mystery...glorious.
Hello L…Thanks for the comment. The candle piece is my all time favorite. What that means is there probably won’t be any as good for a while. I’m grateful for your visit!

Hello Frank, I am so happy you came over to comment! Part of the excitement of this process is the play aspect of it. The magic, or un-reality of the images are sustaining as you visit over and over. I appreciate your response to them…thanks!

Hello Bob! Thanks for the visit!

Julie, I thought you might like the top one. It is quiet and has a friendly quality to it. Thanks so much for coming by…ox

Hello Sheila, Yes the black and white reminds me of the films of early century artist like Man Ray, and Jean Cocteau. I also think of the old Film Noir style with Sterling Hayden and Barbara Stanwyck.

Vowels, The slow blur and fast sharp is the defining aspect of that piece. I hope to work with it more in different hues and motion. Thanks for coming over!

Hello Robin, I love how you defined the image as depicting something we already know…A beautiful thought, suggesting a former memory, or even life that has crossed through a veil, bringing the images that are true and necessary… Good to see you Robin..missed you…oxoxo
i agree with STATHI STATHI... these are magical & i dont want to peek behind the curtain. i like believing in magic!
Fascinating. I wonder to what degree they are in service to the imagination and to what degree the imagination is in service to them?

Maybe it depends on what kind of day one is having. . . .
lorianne, Thanks for the viewing....Sometimes the curtain should be left alone, I agree, as we see in the special effects of movies...

Chicago Guy, thanks for coming by. I think both processes are at work when you include the maker into the mix of the experience. I tend to project meaning on things and events where there might be little or no intent to create meaning on the part of another artist. Art critics do it (project meaning)more than most of us (with the exception of Art Professors).

I find sometimes we try to bleed a student's project dry of meaning, making calculations based on what little we see in a given work. Many times the work is so underwhelming, the imagination has no choice (it may be silly to talk as if the imagination has it's own free will...but why not?)to serve the work.

In the case of these videos, I'm confident about a richness of information that can be gleaned from them, regardless of the technique, or original intent. I won't be around forever, and having one's work survive for even a decade, or two or three..or even four after the artist is gone is miraculous, and a result of the imagination/s serving the work.

Good to see you Roger, as always, and I am constantly enamored by your increasing body of writing...
As you know from some of my previous comments, I am an ignoramus when it comes to evaluating art. To me, the worth of art is proportional to its ability to speak to people, and the "best" art speaks to people all across all economic, cultural, intellectual and social strata.

Of course, the message received may be quite different across those strata. Then, too, there is a visceral reaction as well as an intellectual reaction.

For instance, my initial reaction to Dali's Persistence of Time is that it is deeply unsettling, tho why that is so is hard to put into words. But let me at least try. The painting speaks to me of the ephemeral nature of Man's doings -- to say nothing of Man himself. I wonder, too, if Dali wasn't offering a wry comment on our obsession with Time, and the painting was his way of saying -- despite the title -- that Time, too, is ephemeral.

So what does the art you posted say to me? To me it says the same -- that all things are ephemeral, including art. Witness the travesty of the destruction of the Great Buddhas that stood in Afghanistan for fifteen centuries, destroyed by men with powerful religious convictions, but surely without souls. In my view, that, too, is a crime against humanity.

I wouldn't call it art, but the notion of the ephemeral was brought home to me years ago while watching the construction of the Interstate thru the mountains in Colorado. The massive effort to cut a narrow slot thru the mountains seemed so foolish, so insignificant compared to the mountains, and the thot flashed thru my head that no matter how great men's accomplishments, the mountains (Nature) always win. And to take it a step further, even the mountains themselves cannot stand against Time.
Gary: Thanks for the heads-up ... OS finally let me into my mailbox without the "lots of error" messages. My observations on these intriguing images ... In the first the light moves like a smoke ring (that I would connect with rituals). In the second, the upper flames moves clockwise, the bottom light counter clockwise. In the final video, both the top and bottom light moving together looked like a loon moving its head around doing a dance.

Not an overly intellectual observation since both, interestingly enough, move my imagination back to the natural world where time (as we *know* it) is insignificant, in many ways. As WS said, "There are no clocks in the forest." Timelessness for me emerges here too.
Tom, I think you would be great at an art critique because you are so totally in touch with your true thoughts on things.

With Dali, being a member of the original Surrealists in Europe, he was exploring the subconscious and the imagery associated with most people’s dreams. This was for them, a kind of unreality, marked by individual prejudices and desires. All of the Surrealists were keenly aware of the ephemeral nature of consciousness and hence, the objects and inventions of human perception that “occupy” consciousness.

As eastern mystics will tell us, all things are temporary and ultimately illusory.
So the videos are ephemeral and illusory as well…they are reproduced illusions of illusions, with a slight time adjustment, and that adjustment, in the context of my re-defining this illusion, gives me at least temporary ownership, and that promise encourages me to keep making things.

I’m grateful you wrote about the Interstate being cut through the mountains…perhaps in 200 years, very little will be left amid the rocks and forests.
Hello Scarlett, I really like the image suggested to you by the work. This is delightful, and enriches the whole experience of “making” for me.

The top piece is suggestive of smoke, or atmosphere, moving through several permutations as if it had a mind, or a will. It’s the most quiet of all the macro-vids posted over the last 1,1/2 years on OS. I like the first one very much because for me, after I thought about it, the image was suggesting a performance one might see on a very dark night. This would be a performance by natural phenomena, perhaps even an unfamiliar ritual of sorts.

In Boy Scouts, we used to do Shadow Shows using a tent wall and our wood fire projecting shadows of both abstract and recognizable shapes. To us, the performance always took on a ritualistic flavor (in Scouts, its hard to avid ritual when one does anything). There would be shadow forms that only the scoutmaster knew how to make and this was a source of wonder and in some ways, folk Magic.

The second video involves a happy discovery where I was able to cync the rotation at the bottom, with the cycles of the HD video camera. The image is almost dreamlike, yet simple and of short duration. The whole image suggests a figure, but for me, most striking is the resemblance to a candle flame (just above the middle of the image). The flame shadow is the actual shadow of the spinning mass near the bottom. In a strange way, they seem to occupy two different time sequences, as if a 5th dimension was depicted beyond the 4th dimension of motion. Thanks for the visit…I, so sorry to hear you are having problems with the site.
Your shapes are solid and not solid at the same time. You certainly deserve all the recognition that you can get, and more all the time.
ONL, I appreciate your kind comment. The short sequences are meant to explore both solidity and things, visible and akin to vapor....
oh is this evocative...I want to hear the music. Wait, I might HAVE the music LOL
I must say the images and how you captured them is evocative...for me the second one I saw as a hummingbird. Perhaps because I have been watching a dozen of them here, and I see a similarity. Thanks for alerting me. Always, your images inspire.

The images and the interplay of light are stunning. They have this sort of ineffable dream-like quality to them.
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............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx & Smiles (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥ (ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★(ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★
Truly amazing...and I'm glad I'm not tripping.

True video art...not an easy format to grasp. Certainly Bill Viola comes to mind. That magic caught, time, speed, light.

The first one seemed like an ocular dessert! (Wow, you should totally use that term on your marketing stuff.)
Hello Nikki, the first piece might even be better with your addition of music! We need to collaborate! Thanks for the visit!

Buffy, there is a humming bird in there somewhere! The movement mimics them quite well. Thanks so much…

Diary, sometimes the making of these is dreamlike, and when someone sees that quality in them, it is very encouraging. They are low tech in production, but with experience n doing these, you begin to know which ones are evocative.

Algis,…thanks for the visual flourish (warm front)!

Hello Beth, I like being compared with Bill Viola! He’s light-years ahead of me in so many ways and that’s a real inspiration.
“Ocular Dessert” is your term and I will use it with extreme care and deference… Thanks Beth. I value your comment so much, and I appreciate your thoughts on this particular pair of works.
Thank you for your email, to let us know of this post! I don't get to Salon like I used to. These are really original and I'm sorry they are so short. I hope you develop these and continue, I particularly like the concept of candle flame in the 5th dimension and working with raw light...if that's what you would call it. I like the ethereal nature of it.
Your students are so lucky, Gary.
Thank you so much Anne. The candle piece was a happy discovery with the lower movement in the image. It does have a strange supra-dimensional quality.

Hello Sandra, I'm so glad you came by! My students are luckiest in having the smarts to deal with a misfit like me. thanks Sandra.