Ben Noam, Garrett Pruter, Yarisal & Kublitz, Johnny Abrahams, Nick Van Woert, and Grear Patterson: Human Interface
15.10.2014 - 15.11.201410 Hanover Street, London, W1S 1YQ
Human Interface explores how various platforms of mass production, consumption and global connectivity – such as digital feeds, social media, Google, Wikipedia, etc. – assimilate visual information, impact how iconography manifests and shape art historical and cultural canon. Using digital and wireless platforms, as well as analog printing and traditional casting techniques as a point of departure, each of the artists’ creative processes explore the development of artistic practices and visual vernacular in the post-information age.
We exist in a world of global connectivity where a person can explore a destination 3,000 miles away on Google Street View; engage in real-time dialogue across time zones; as well as access the cultural customs of an unfamiliar country. All these encounters occur across various technological pathways in which the generational advancement – digital simulacra – has moved at an increasingly rapid pace. This has a compounding impact on the freeing of information and people’s ability to obtain, consume, and assimilate knowledge.
Our social sense of interconnectedness directly correlates with our increasingly rapid ability to communicate. The oscillation of people and ideas is moving faster than ever, thus our expressions are exchanged in an increasingly representational manner. We paraphrase, use symbols in place of phrases, and employ apparatus that engender superficial gleaning of the content we share.
Given this increased accessibility for a global population, information highways are becoming overcrowded instigating the next phase in wireless technology: Optical Wireless Communications, which will allow the global population to access and share information more efficiently. What impact will this have on the pace of information exchange? How will these new channels for funneling information shape our visual vernacular?
Moiré patterns are visuals resulting from two sets of parallel lines superimposed with one set slanted at an angle to the other. In the technological realm, they are typically the unintentional result of digital imaging and computer graphic techniques – like the effect of trying to capture a television screen through a camera lens, or when particular crosshatch patterns are presented on the television. But they also have practical applications in the animation of moving imagery and in mathematics. Johnny Abrahams’ abstract paintings are his attempt to find harmony in composition and arrangement. In transforming the rhythms of color in space in a formulaic, mathematical manner, the resulting work vibrates with the moiré effect.
Grear Patterson’s Xerox photography relates to the “Xerox Effect” or half-life of images reproduced on technological platforms. Depicting an image of the first satellite launch, he creates an interstellar portrait of the beacons that transmit information and allow for our global connectivity. While references can be drawn to the cultivation of wireless technology from the first signal transmissions of this type of satellite to the current applications in optical wireless technology, this work is also rooted in the precursor analog platform; Xerox printing technique
Yarisal and Kublitz’s Rising Sun links multiple popular Japanese references – the flag, Buddhist shrines, and Harajuku – creating an unlikely but lyrical totem. The artists are interested in the happenstance of how we access cultural symbols online and this work explores the cursory or superficial relationship we develop with iconography accessed through virtual platforms like Google.
Nick van Woert explores man’s relationship to terrain and how our customs and cultural detritus blend back into the landscape we occupy. Drawn to the classical motif after seeing Bernini’s interpretation of Daphne and Apollo (with the germination of her extremities as her limbs sprout leaves and branches), this series is the result of an electromagnetic casting process that jump-starts copper growths on cheap plaster replicas of classical Greco-Roman sculptures. These “blooms” are formed organically by the electric current pulsing through the synthetic under-structure, essentially bringing these man-made anthropomorphic models back to a naturalistic form. Van Woert is taking the product of that classical ideal – the souvenir – and blending it back into nature.
Garrett Pruter is curious about the lifespan of an image. He exploits layers in the photograph process: color, printing, and consumption of the image. Using an emulsion-paint process, he photographs phosphorescent paint (colours found in the palate of Window’s “landscape” desktop); develops an image that he can scrape and grind into a pigment making a new paint; whereupon he takes another photo of this new paint and repeats the process, ultimately revealing the gradient and life-span of the initial color. He uses phosphorescent colors not only for the technical relationship to these digital “landscapes” – like a digital image must be back lit, these phosphorescent colours must absorb light to “glow” in the dark – but also because they are inherently difficult to capture and translate digitally. Through his emulsion process and the application of paint to canvas, the colour itself becomes pixelated and broken into the many pigments that make it up, mimicking the digital composition of the “landscape” desktops he is inspired by and evoking an abstract landscape of their own.
Ben Noam’s Nantucket Sunrise is influenced by the colour Nantucket Red. A salmon color that recalls the WASPY pallet of New England but also the atmosphere of Southern California. His application of this red furthers his gradient series in an attempt to combine these disparate places – that he has strong ties to – in a cyborg-like manner. Inspired by the Photoshop “gradient” and “alpha layer select” tools along with traditional analog painting techniques, this monumental painting bridges the gap between historical artistic practices and digital ones. We see a seemingly gestural splatter woven between the fore and backgrounds but Noam’s use of gradient in each layer of the paint application process anchors these physical gestures into the surface of the canvas. Noam hopes to subvert the highly commoditized and referenced cannons of Ab-Ex art that can be read in this work through his digitized painting.
Cecelia Stucker lives and works between Los Angeles, New York and Paris where she is the Director of CC: Curating & Collections curating exhibitions for galleries and foundations internationally and offering collection management services to private collectors. She recently completed a curatorial fellowship at The African Artists Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria and acted as consulting curator on Bugada Cargnel Galerie’s 2013 Phantom Sun. Forthcoming projects including Scripted Spaces at Martos Gallery Los Angeles, Human Interface at 10 Hanover and Metahistories – a multi-institutional, international group exhibition with co-curator Joseph Gergel