Cristinerose Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Cyber Drawings, featuring six artists working in digital media: Marsha Cottrell, Elliott Green, Tom Moody, Jack Risley, Pauline Stella Sanchez, and Sean Watson. Running contemporaneously in the Project Room will be an exhibition of digitally-produced paintings by Claire Corey.
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As Mark Dery observes in his book Escape Velocity, cyber-culture is a deeply conflicted entity. Many of its participants are exuberantly pro-technology, speaking of paradigm shifts and new levels of consciousness, but at the same time, the Net abounds with neo-primitivist, cyberphobic ranting (for example, Ted Kaczynski's manifesto, a huge hit online). This same ambivalence exists among visual artists: the desire to use new tools competes with the urge to tweak or critique them.
Thus, some artists creatively misuse the computer: Cottrell stretches and layers punctuation marks into dense networks of hair-thin lines, converting the raw material of word processing (peripheral characters from a standard font file) into chaotic or crystalline abstractions. Watson's figure drawings challenge the grid s emotional flatness with agitated lines that crackle like electrical static--a kind of digital Art Brut.
Others work in more traditional ways, taking wry advantage of the computer s ability to mass- produce or subtly enhance imagery. Combining laptop-drawing with the scanning-in of sketches, Risley makes hundreds of drawings recalling the mechanical hybrids of his sculptural pieces; consistent with his interest in found materials, he samples his color palette from a bus map of Rome (where he recently completed a fellowship). In Moody's work, middlebrow media babes are given subtle makeovers--eyes are moved closer together, lips are made fuller--but unlike Hollywood s smooth morphs, the drawing is mostly done by hand (holding a mouse), with a lo-fi office graphics program and laser printer.
Several of the artists straddle more than one medium. Green's short, on-screen sketch movies depict the evolution of his cartoony, surrealist graphite drawings--simple curves are laid down, anthropomorphizing details are filled in, whole sections are erased and overdrawn in digital time-lapse. Sanchez augments her crisp computer-generated curves and starbursts with ballpoint squiggles and enigmatic fragments of text.
While drawing (vestigial or otherwise) is the focus of Cyber Drawings, Corey's pieces in the Project Room are emphatically paintings--simulationist gestural works in high-key color on watercolor paper. Almost impossible to distinguish from paintings in traditional liquid media, these seductive panels nevertheless revel in the manipulations of high-end graphics programs--funhouse mirror distortions, sine curves, and vertiginous illusions of depth.
For more information, please contact Mariacristina Parravicini.