Sunday, May 11, 2008

Video No Input

Here's a quick look at the current "frontiers of art of technology"

Made my way otp to Spruill Gallery for the opening of "Breaking New Ground," a show bringing together artists working with new forms of technology and professors from Georgia Tech who are exploring "methods and advances in technology to create a new and fresh artistic vocabulary."

Kathryn Reffi "Color Recordings: Day 3 and 4" 2006 60"x100" oil on panel

The show is a great experience, part science fair, part design, and part experimental art. True to nature, I was most drawn to the works by professional artists, interested to see how artist's are using technology (digital imaging, projectors, computer software) to either expand the possibilities in their work or use it to reach an idea previously unattainable.

Kathryn Reffi's paintings are jaw-dropping; meticulous, massive, color theory to the ninth degree, the paintings pulse with abstracted life. But what makes them really fascinating, is that each painting, well, actually is worth reading the description in its entirety:

Reffi's paintings greet the visitor at the door of the gallery and set the stage by exemplifying a process in which technology is aiding artists in attaining something previously incomprehensible.

"Nest" by Carla Diana involves spheres containing LED lights and a unique RIFD tag. When a sphere is placed in one of the three indentions in the white platform, a different ambient sound is created. The viewer is able to interact with the piece and audibly transform the space by interchanging spheres. At one point a guy removed all of the spheres and the room fell very silent, it was an odd sensation, like a life form had been silenced, something kind of disturbing. Someone else quickly added back a sphere to bring life back to the space, or to at least add their own mark upon it.

"Nest" was shown along side Phillip Galanter's pieces dealing with Generative Systems, which seemed fitting since the back lit "light box drawings" implied their own sense of vibrations.

Again, as a common theme in this show, it's actually worth it (and necessary) to read the statement:

Say what? Interesting to place these on light boxes, a bit like viewing something under the microscope.

On my quest to meet the other Atlanta art bloggers, I made the acquaintance of Miss Il Faut Cultiver Notre Jardin, Susannah Darrow, who has a great summary of the show here.

Gil Weinberg's "Robotic Musicianship Project"

"-has digital technology truly innovated and enriched the expressive, emotional, and creative core of the musical experience?"

Tristan Al-Haddad's "iCAVE" was another highlight, although more from an aesthetic or design standpoint for me.

Except that the piece was more about an "exploration into the perception of other formative constructs: spaces of movement, flux, life, and discovery. First spaces of the womb, the cave, the termite nest, the ant colony, the bee hive, or many other such structures are all spaces which create a very different type of spatial cognition for the inhabitant than that of contemporary voided Euclidean space."

I'm not sure space was really turned on its head for me in this installation. Walking through and viewing these hive-shaped forms I felt separated by scale, not viewing the forms as a reconfiguration of the architecture as much as alien forms floating within the still existent euclidean construct - "the box."

Nevertheless, iCAVE, had a strange vibe about it, maybe it was the oddly cushy floor and the bubble wrap walls, but I kept coming back for more.

Danielle Roney's "Fluid Architecture" projection pieces were meditative in their deconstructing and reconstructing of the spaces inside and outside of the gallery.

"Fluid Architecture: Interior Movements" 2008 Site Specific Digital Media Installation

"In the conceptual works of Global Portals, the artist as researcher is a critical role in the creative process between art and technology. As new media redefines the role and power of the individual within the evolution of societal perspectives, the boundaries between art and scientific theory, particularly entanglement, become an increasingly interesting metaphor."

I found the room best experienced in solitude, spending enough time to allow the mind to absorb the projections as visual information, attempting to make sense of it, perhaps altering perception. (hint: the morphing image on the wall is actually of the gallery room ceiling.)

Roney's installation room reminded me of Reffi's work, each artist fully transforming the mood of their space, their art changing the experience for anyone passing through.

Roney in Reffi's room.

Strange thing about tech savvy art, when the show is over, there is a power button to turn it all off.

And later in the night, I don't know, but maybe I finally tracked down the last of the elusive Atlanta art blogging pack, it's Ben from Proclaim it Lost who has the ability to guess age based on the number of items decorating one's key chain.

"Breaking New Ground" is up at Spruill Gallery through June 26th 2008. Go check it, it's worth the drive.


Miss Darrow said...

Thanks for doing such a thorough review! Not that you usually don't, but this time I KNOW that you have.

Ben Grad said...

Not number of items, but Quality (and meaning associated with). Which is sort of counterintuitive - you'd expect number of items to increase in direct relation to subject's age.

Glad you got a shot of that paper airplane, and good to meet y'all.