Thursday October 4, 2012

GRANVILLE, N. Y. -- The Slate Valley Museum, as part of its First Friday Artist series, will host a new exhibit of works by Pennsylvanian photographer Alyssha Eve Csük, with an artist’s reception on Friday, Oct. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. The works are part of Csük’s "Slate Abstracts 2009-2012."

The show will remain on exhibit through Nov. 30.

During this past summer, Csük visited quarries throughout the Slate Valley quarries of New York and Vermont.

"I am an artist, fascinated by places that embody bygone industry," Csük said in supplied material. "Places that are suspended in time -- a suspension that disorients, that accentuates the visual."

Csük’s attraction to "industrial" art, for lack of a better term, comes from growing up in Bethlehem, Pa., hometown of what was once the second largest steel company in the world, Bethlehem Steel.

"Bethlehem was a mill town that could measure its successes by the inches of ash on its townspeople’s windowsills," she said. "And, it was work at the steel mill that brought my Windish ancestors to America. My grandfather worked at the mill for 36 years, until his death. Many years later, I would be drawn to the dormant black mammoth-like beast.

"My fascination with the Bethlehem Steel site began on a bike ride in late November, 2003. The low, autumnal light casting dramatic shadows across its ruins caught my eye compelling me to traverse to and around the fences edge. I was captured. The play of light as it filters through a time ravaged labyrinth of an industrial site continually excites my photographer’s eye. Its haunted shadowed darkness hinted at a presence under the patina of dissipation and decay, a presence imploring my attention. What a wonderful muse the Bethlehem Steel site has been for me."

The works on display at the Slate Valley Museum also include works from Csük’s "Abstract Portraits of Steel 2004-2011" -- "inspired by my exploration of the defunct Bethlehem Steel site, which engendered a desire in me to share the hidden, ephemeral beauty of these industrial ruins, too often seen merely as repulsive brownfields," she said.

National honors

In 2011, Csük and her abstract photography received national recognition in American Photo magazine, Steel Life and a full page photo essay in Sunday New York Times, "Seeing Beauty in the Rust Belt," along with being featured in a short television story by Voice of America.

Csük took her first photography class as an elective course while earning her Associates Degree in Communication Design at Northampton Community College. She then went on to explore her passion for photography and enrolled in Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating from RIT in 2006, Csük worked shooting commercial photography and filming a documentary of Sands project at the Bethlehem Steel site, in Bethlehem.

For information call 518-642-1417 or visit slatevalleymuseum.org