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Suara Welitoff’s videos help us see things afresh

Suara Welitoff’s “I Want to Tell You.”
Suara Welitoff’s “I Want to Tell You.”

Awkward black lines loop and darken over a photographic cloudscape in Suara Welitoff’s archival pigment print, “Infinite Things,” on view at Anthony Greaney. It’s like a picture of what’s present that you don’t see, tangles of conflict or buzzy sounds that shake up the serene backdrop.

Welitoff’s videos retrieve and examine the unseen and the stray. She blows up scraps of forgotten footage. Her careful attention lifts veils. Throwaways take on portent. 

Her small, rewarding show inaugurates Greaney’s new self-titled gallery in Somerville, far afield from the SoWA scene, which he left in 2014.  

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In “I Want to Tell You,” a film subtitle stretches into slow motion. The white words tremble against a black ground; colors flicker around their edges. Dear God, you may wonder: What do you want to say? Suspending time, Welitoff animates the text and makes it more pregnant.

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Soon after Sept. 11, she videotaped flowers in a breeze. “The Way the Wind Blows” features that video, pixelated and flipped into a negative. The flowers, now big purple-and-black blocks, slide back and forth on an invisible grid against a white ground. It looks like a woozy game of Tetris, but the naturalism of the blotted, bruised colors and the sway of petals in the wind plays captivatingly against the mechanistic format.

The hypnotically engrossing “Chance the On Off,” also uses original footage — something anyone might shoot: scenery passing by a train window, leaving New York for Boston. Red-brick and tan buildings skim by in silence, rows of flat rooftops, leafless trees, and streets agleam with headlights. 

As in all such videos, what’s near passes quickly. At a slowed pace, space becomes a cipher for memory. Welitoff makes what’s far, and here shrouded by haze, harder to let go of. 

I didn’t note the imposed slowness until I saw traffic flowing like honey. My mind palpably downshifted. A familiar scene became new. Welitoff’s videos echo the effects of contemplative practice. Attend closely to old tracks, and see them afresh. 

SUARA WELITOFF: THE FEELING OF A FEELING

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At Anthony Greaney, 438 Somerville Ave., Somerville, through June 23. 617-482-0055, www.anthonygreaney.com

Cate McQuaid can be reached at catemcquaid@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @cmcq.