Winner of RAA’s Solo Show Contest  to Make Debut


Michelle Zassenhaus is about to show Rockaway beyond what’s known. The Brooklyn-based artist was selected by the Rockaway Artists Alliance as the winner of their 2018 Solo Show Competition and she’ll be showing off her work in the RAA’s newest exhibit, opening on May 12.

Zassenhaus is a Brooklyn-based photographer who received her BFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts. Her work has been recognized by Photo District News, L’Œil de la Photographie, and Don’t Take Pictures. Zassenhaus’ photos have been exhibited across the United States, but her show at the RAA, “Beyond What’s Known,” will be her debut solo exhibition.

“Beyond What’s Known” is the culmination of a “self-styled” residency Zassenhaus completed at Rockaway Beach over the winter, with the water being the subject of many of her creative photos that almost look like paintings. According to an RAA press release, “whilst grappling with life-changing events, for which the show is a metaphor, Zassenhaus creates a handful of personal surveys of the landscape at the water’s edge.”

Through her characteristic large-format long exposures and other photographic techniques, Zassenhaus captures the “signature” of Rockaway, an area which, unbeknownst to many, but not to those who live locally, is part of New York City, yet presents a different view of what many might picture when they think of New York City.

In her series City Meets Sea (as in #16 Rockaway Beach), Zassenhaus’ human-scaled images, at 60x75” seduce the viewer in their ephemerality reminiscent of color field paintings. Another series on the same subject features images created by a camera left overnight, resulting in striking 10-hour exposures. In other work, Zassenhaus explores more inland qualities, noting “At night, I sense a quiet solitude. The ocean ebbs in the moonlight. Tightly nestled houses of architectural miscellany lurk quietly in the dark, only the occasional glowing window, suggesting people within. Above, you’re serenaded by the relentless roar of low-flying air traffic destined for the nearby airport, one of the busiest in the country.” The result is a series of long exposures that depict the quiet neighborhood and transform the air traffic into beautifully patterned trails through the night sky. Finally, Zassenhaus presents several “sketches”, titled Ways of Telling Time, as the artist plays with how time is measured by light, decay, and ritual.

Beyond What’s Known will open at the sTudio 6 Gallery in Fort Tilden, with a reception on Saturday, May 12 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will be open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., through May 27. Several events will take place in conjunction with the exhibit on Sunday, May 20. That Sunday, at 12 p.m., there will be a Sun Print (Cyanotype) Workshop for all ages. At 3 p.m., Rachel Krieger of Rockaway Love will host a yoga class at 3 p.m., and Joseph Giacona of Williamsburg Meditation will follow with a meditation class at 4 p.m. The exhibit comes to a close with a party from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 27.

In the meantime, the RAA’s other exhibit, The Mayfly, is still open for another weekend. The Mayfly, presented by the folks who brought The Noisy Paintbox exhibit, is a multimedia exhibition about the transient nature of our lives. The last chance to view it will be on Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be a closing performance by local band The Skells at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 5.

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