Thursday, January 6, 2011

Moving Pictures

Here is a photo from my talented friend Anita Licis-Ribak. Her long exposures capture the movement of people around the site - flashlights creating trails of brightness quite different from the broad spill of light from the shed.

Again, that's Nancy Winship Milliken's Pleadies installation of felted wool sails that you can see in the field. Beautiful!

Anita's work is currently part of a group photography exhibition titled: The Photo Essay at the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA (from January 4 - 29, 2011). She's showing a collection of photos taken over the years, entitled "City on the Sea: Fragments of (Brief Returns to) Rīga, Latvia".

More of Anita's photos of Shedding Light...

Monday, December 13, 2010


These photos were taken by Ron Kochanowski on 12-11-10. In the foreground is Nancy Milliken's Pleiades installation of 7 felted wool sails cruising like ghost ships in the glow of Shedding Light. It was a special event to see them together in the field. Thank you Ron for sharing your work!

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away. ~Eudora Welty

Some people complain that the camera's lens doesn't do them justice - they think they look awkward or pale in the light of the flash bulb, but Shedding Light has no complaints. This project comes alive in the pictures. The textures + details of the barn + field; the light patterns in the sky + on the ground are seen in photographs in a different way than we can experience them in person, in motion. It's as though the camera allows us the opportunity to pause in that moment forever + to look closely without distractions.

Ron Kochanowski, a photographer from Feeding Hills, visited on Saturday night + took a few beautiful images with his Nikon D60 that you can see on his Flickr site. I especially love the ones that show Nancy Milliken's Pleiades illuminated by Shedding Light. So nice to share the Swartz's field with these sails for a few nights!

And if you have the opportunity to stop by the Nacul Gallery to see the exhibit of photos from last year's lighting you'll see Shedding Light through the eyes of Don David, Anita Licis-Ribak, Stephanie Oates + Charlotte Meryman. The photos will be up through Dec. 30.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thank you

So last night was a great + overwhelming experience -- so many came out to see Nancy Milliken's Pleiades + my Shedding Light installation + to hang out in the Swartz's barn! The conversations I had (+ a few I overheard) were all pretty amazing.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to a successful night (especially the parking team)! + thank you to those of you who were out there taking photos. I'd love to see your images so if you'd like to share, you can get in touch with me at

The shed will be lit for the next 2 nights... considering extending it if some snow materializes... more on that soon.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shedding Light

Looking forward to a chilly Saturday night (hoping for snow!) for the Nacul Gallery opening & relighting at Swartz Farm. If it's not too windy Nancy Milliken's Pleiades will be doing some night sailing which should be something beautiful.

See yesterday's post for times + locations.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

See you on 12-11-10!

S H E D D I N G L I G H T revisited

Public art installation by erika zekos
@ Swartz Family Farm, December 11 - 13, 2010

Exhibition of photographs of the illuminated shed
@ Nacul Center Gallery, December 11 - 30, 2010
featuring artists: donald david, anita licis-ribak, charlotte meryman, stephanie oates, erika zekos + video documentary by catherine stryker

Opening Night: Saturday December 11, 2010
@ Nacul Center Gallery (592 Main St., Amherst)
3 - 5 PM Opening Reception

@ Swartz Family Farm
(11 Meadow St. + additional viewing area on Rt. 116, just north of the Meadow St. traffic light)
5:30 - 8 PM Holiday Festival at the farm featuring hay rides, hot cider + local noshes
6 - 10 PM The lights come on!

Presented by the Amherst Public Arts Commission

2 days to go

In preparation for the opening on Saturday, today we installed the photo show at the Nacul Gallery. Here's Terry Rooney curator-extraordinaire hanging one of Anita Licis-Ribak's photographs.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

3 days to go

Yesterday i spent some time at the shed, laying out cables + opening the barn's ventilation panels. It's cold outside, but it feels good to be getting things ready for the relighting on Saturday. Joe + Sarah Swartz are planning such a wonderful celebration of local food + art in their Blue Barn + it might even snow a little bit on Friday (fingers crossed).

Here are a couple of photos i took yesterday - images of this aging barn being either overtaken or gradually erased by decades of exposure to its environment. Beautiful in their own way, but bittersweet.

Monday, November 29, 2010


While you're counting down the days until Shedding Light's reappearance on Dec. 11, 2010, please plan to attend the closing of the Amherst Biennial exhibit Sunday Dec. 5 at East St. School in Amherst, MA. My projection installation titled, "I dwell in Possiblity -" exploring identity + place will be up from dusk - 8pm.

The Details...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting there... The giant spool of cable was rolled out to Far Shed yesterday ready to be hooked up to the electrical panels at either end. It felt great to visit the barn again + to feel the soft earth beneath my feet, the mist in my face + to see Pleiades sailing in the distance. Thanks to Derek for helping out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pleiades at Swartz Farm

If you happen to drive by Swartz Family Farm in the next few weeks you might see 7 beautiful felted wool sails navigating the field along Rt. 116. Nov. through Dec. 11, 2010.

This installation, called Pleiades by Nancy Winship Milliken is part of the Amherst Biennial. It straddles performance, sculpture and installation as the artist repairs and responds to the changes made by time and weather. (As you plan your viewing please note that the sails are taken down in predicted high winds and rain).

For more information please visit to view images, artist statement, and a video showing the process of making the felted sails.

If the weather works in our favor Pleiades will be sailing the field during Shedding Light's return on 12-11-10!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Save the Date 12-11-10

Shedding Light returns on 12-11-10! FOR 3 NIGHTS ONLY!
What an auspicious date to relight the shed! If you missed it last year or wish to see it illuminated again please come by.

This lighting will mark the opening of an exhibit of photographs of last year's installation. Anita Licis-Ribak, Charlotte Meryman, Donald David, Stephanie Oates, Terry Rooney and myself will be among the artists showing their own views of the barn and light and landscape. In addition we'll be showing the beautiful film about Shedding Light by Catherine Stryker of ACTV.

Opening Reception: Saturday, 12-11-10:
3 - 5 PM @ the Nacul Center Gallery (592 Main St., Amherst, MA)
6 -10 PM Relighting of Shedding Light @ Swartz Family Farm (11 Meadow St., Amherst, MA)

Hope that you'll join us!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Exciting news!!

Shedding Light
, a 10 minute documentary about lighting a tobacco barn is available for viewing! Shedding Light film link: (Click the link + then click "Watch Now".)

In the film you'll see me, Terry Rooney and Joe Swartz at the farm + in the studio talking about the process + our experiences with the project. You'll also see many of the beautiful photographs taken by artists Anita Licis-Ribak, Stephanie Oates, Charlotte Meryman, Donald David, Terry & myself.

Thanks go to Amherst Community Television (ACTV)'s Catherine Stryker for doing beautiful work editing all of the film, images + interviews. I hope you enjoy watching it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I hope that everyone has the chance to visit the Pioneer Women and Wonderland exhibits at Paper City Gallery in Holyoke!

This incredible show curated by Terry Rooney includes over 40 artists from the Valley and NYC (including yours truly). Make sure you stop by (80 Race Street, Saturdays + Sundays 1-4 until July 31) to see the PREMIER of the Shedding Light documentary and so much amazing artwork!

+ I hope to be posting a link to the documentary SOON! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We're making a film about Shedding Light! That's Amherst Community TV producer Catherine Stryker filming Joe Swartz, Terry Rooney + me at Swartz Family Farm today.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Photographer Charlotte Meryman took some lovely photos of the shed a few nights ago that she posted on her blog... Check them out at

Amazing Aerials

A couple more of Anita's aerial images, December 18, 2009.Our pilot from Northampton Aeronautics, John Smith.
Above is Anita, intrepid photographer!

New Year Thoughts

It felt great to turn off the shed lights for the final time + bring this project to a close last night at midnight. Thank you to each and every person who helped to make this project a reality + thanks to those who've taken a trip to see it, shared your own photos + comments. Hope you have all enjoyed it as much as I did! Happy New Year.
With gratitude, Erika
Isn't that amazing? Anita Licis-Ribak and I flew over Shedding Light a few nights ago in a Piper Warrior 4-seater plane. What an experience to see it from above! More pics to come...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Photographer Stephanie Oates visited Shedding Light a few nights ago. I love the pattern of light across the ground...
Here's one that I took looking out across the field:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Here's another of Anita Licis-Ribak's wonderful photos. You can see more of her photography work at her blog and website.

If you have any photos to share please feel free to get in touch with me (Erika, I'd love to see them!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Light + Gratitude

Thank you to everyone who came out for opening day on Saturday. The afternoon's book talk, panel discussion & gallery opening was a lot of fun & turning on the lights for the first time in the snow was something I've been looking forward to for a very long time!

Hope you have an opportunity to drive past the shed some night soon... sunset to 10pm every night for the rest of December. The best viewing area is on the east side of Rt. 116, just north of the Meadow St. traffic light. Of course you can also visit the Nacul Center (592 Main St. Amherst) to see the gallery show with drawings by Scott Tulay and photographs by Arthur Mange.

And now a few more thank yous...
My huge and heartfelt gratitude to Joe and Sarah Swartz of Swartz Family Farm for welcoming this project, Terry Rooney, Amherst Public Art Commission Chair for her vision and the entire APAC committee for their support, Bruce Wallace of Theatrix Lighting and Production for his guidance about the lighting, Paul DiBenedetto Electric for getting the wiring accomplished and Larry Schaffer, Amherst Town Manager for his appreciation and coordination magic. I couldn't have done this without their support!

Thanks to everyone else who helped “see the light” including Scott Tulay & Arthur Mange, Darcy Purinton & Dale Cahill, Tom Hartman, Meg Vickery, Derek Noble, Gretchen Schneider, Alex Lefebvre, the Jones Library Special Collections, Nacul Center, Dave Damery of the UMass Amherst Department of Natural Resources Conservation, UMass Amherst Graduate School, Nora & Tony Maroulis of wunderarts, the Amherst/ Mass Cultural Council, WMECO and Art Angels.

On opening night we had help with parking from Aisik and Alex Newman and the wonderful Officer Jaime and UMass NAHB students helped people to find their w
ay out to the shed. Not an easy job in the snow! Thanks also to the Black Sheep and Mom's House for helping with the food.

And thanks to my friend / amazing designer and photographer Anita Licis-Ribak who took these beautiful pictures Saturday night!

Friday, December 4, 2009