The Alumni Gallery presents Euphoria: New Paintings by Carla Falb, an exhibition of work which explores the complexities and energies of human nature through paintings of roller coasters and night clubs.
Carla Falb (Cert. ’83) began her Roller Coaster Series in 2002, exploring the layers of metaphorical meanings based on the various coasters’ physical structures, sudden turns, extreme drops and cyclical ride.
“I was inspired by the legend of J.M.W. Turner tied to the mast of a ship to experience a storm at sea so he could infuse the memory of his physical and emotional sensations into his paintings,” says Falb. “Roller coasters are a distinctive product of our American culture, reflecting our desire for ecstatic experiences, as well as symbolizing the energy and complexity of our lives.” All of Falb’s work in the exhibition is based on the artist’s direct experience, riding in the front car of the coaster and taking photos or videos to use as source material.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy the Roller Coaster Series has taken on new significance. “I was well into this new series, working on All-American Girl, based on my video images from a burlesque club in Atlantic City, when Sandy hit the New Jersey coast,” Falb says. The home of Falb’s mother in Long Beach Island filled with water and for two weeks after the hurricane, her family lived in shelters. Upon learning that the Jet Star roller coaster was destroyed in the storm, along with much of the Seaside Heights boardwalk, Falb decided that she had one more roller coaster to paint.
Falb has had solo and group shows in numerous galleries such as Gallery Siano in Philadelphia,, the Noyes Museum in Oceanville, N.J., The Preston Contemporary Art Center in Las Cruces, N.M., and the Belanthi Gallery in New York. Her roller coaster paintings were published in New American Paintings in 2004 and 2009. In 2009, Falb received a Dodge Foundation Visual/Educator Fellowship to work on her roller coaster paintings in Los Angeles.