BY JACQUES UZI
photo: Linsey Wallace
The inaugural Silicon Valley Contemporary Art Fair opened this weekend, showcasing themes of Art and Technology. The fair hopes to expose the art market to the tech world, with the intention of creating sales and fostering relationships with new collectors who are member’s of the most lucrative industry in the country. With over 50 galleries from 11 countries represented, the fair is a balanced view of Contemporary Art right now, and is full of amazing work by many talented Artists.
Marina Abramovic, Mutal Wave Machine, 2014. photo:courtesy of Silicon Valley Contemporary
The themes of Art and Technology were embodied in pioneer Performance Artist Marina Abramovic’s interactive art piece, Mutual Wave Machine. Like much of Abramovic’s work Mutual Wave Machine, seeks to explore and create human connectivity. Just as Abramovic engaged viewers in direct eye contact to explore the meaningfulness and connectivity it offered in her piece Mutual Gaze, participants in Mutual Wave Machine are seated across from one another in a small geodesic structure, for 6 minutes while there brain waves are monitored. Subjects can test different ways to increase or decrease connectivity with each other, such as varying degrees of eye contact, or physical contact. The participant’s brain waves are monitored by head mounted E.E.G. devices, and are translated into an LED light sequences behind there heads that instantly visualizes their brain activity. The whole intention of this is to get viewer’s to be on the same wavelength via brainwave synchronization. Abramovic has chosen the language of science and technology in hopes of people submitting to connecting with one another in that context, rather than a touchy-feely new wave kind of way. After the 6 minute wave sync participants exit to a debriefing quiz. The process is fun, engaging, and creates a situation where sitting and looking deeply into someone’s eyes, or holding hands, isn’t creepy or uncomfortable because it’s for science and art.
Gary Hill, Depth Charge, 2014. photo: Linsey Wallace
Gary Hill, Depth Charge, 2014. photo:Linsey Wallace.
Another example of Art and Technology can be seen in Gary Hill’s installation Depth Charge. Depth Charge, is what curator Paul Young describes as “a love poem to 60’s cybernetic culture.” The installation itself consists of 5 flatscreen t.v.s lying on the floor amidst a jumble of electrical chords. An animated projection of a smoke-like guitarist playing to another figure, is projected onto the back wall. Distorted music by Bill Frisell plays amidst disjointed dialogues and commentary. On the flat screens plays a loop of videos shot from slightly differing perspectives, of Gary Hill lying on the floor speaking in odd phrases while in the midst of a psychedelic experience. The videos help provide a sense of disembodiment to the experience, creating an effect where the flat screens and wires form a substitute for the body of the man in the video.
Gary Hill, Fat Man and Little Boy. photo: Linsey Wallace
Fat Man and Little Boy, also by Gary Hill were also exhibited at the Silicon Valley Contemporary. The two huge glass bombs (named after the first 2 nuclear weapons used in combat), are at once imposing and impossibly fragile. Behind the glass bombs, on an arrangement of flatscreen t.v.s plays a super slow motion video of a glass bomb heading straight down towards the ground, eventually it hits, creating a spectacular explosion of glass that could never be seen with the naked eye. In an instant the precise bomb shape, becomes a chaotic storm of dust and shards.
Gary Hill, Klein Bottle with the Image of Its Own Making (after Robert Morris),2014. photo: courtesy of SiliconValley Contemporary
Klein Bottle With the Image of Its Own Making (after Robert Morris),2014, is a mixed media piece that uses video in an innovative way. Inside the glass vessel is a projection of it’s own creation. By showing the production of the object inside of the actual object, a direct reference is made to Robert Morris’s Box with the Sound of Its Own Making, 1961. The actual glass vessel appears to be bending back into itself towards the projection inside of it where it is being made from molten glass.
http://vimeo.com/40360011″>Kate Gilmore – Rock, Hard, Place</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/davidcastillogallery”>David Castillo Gallery</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p> <p><a href=”
Another interesting piece of New Media/Video Art was Kate Gilmore’s video Rock, Hard, Place (2012). The video shows vessels of pink paint organized in a grid on black shelves, and overflowing as the artist adds to the level of each vessel. The video documents a performance, and installation piece of the same name, and is meant to explore “self-imposed restrictions and challenging objectives that recall the absurdity of Dadaism.”
Wood and Harrison, 13 Assassinations, 2013. Still from video. photo:Artsy
Wood and Harrison, 13 Assassinations, 2013. Still from Video. photo: Linsey Wallace.
Shown nearby was a 7 minute video by John Wood And Paul Harrison, 13 Assassinations, 2013. Cleverly produced in a very minimal yet stylized way, each of the 13 Assassinations adds danger and intrigue to otherwise mundane subjects. With visceral blood spatter and unexpected assassinations, once a new subject takes the screen the viewer anticipates its demise. Each new subject becomes a source of anticipation and surprise for the viewer while building amusement within the context of the video.
Jonas N.T. Becker, Almost Always, 2013.
Jonas N.T. Becker’s video installation, Almost Always (2013), features a looping video of a never-ending countdown to New Year’s Eve, projected onto a sculpture of the NYE ball, frozen forever at mid drop. The excitement builds and builds, but never dissipates because New Year’s never happens in this video.
Rob and Nick Carter, Transforming Diptych, framed ipads.
Rob and Nick Carter, Transforming Vanitas Painting, framed ipad.
Rob and Nick Carter’s transforming paintings also exemplify the themes of Art and Technology to a T. The diptych painting contains the familiar sight of a still life painting of fruit, a peach and a pear. The brightness of tempera painting and classical techniques styles, help to mask the fact that these aren’t paintings at all, but cleverly disguised iPads in renaissance style frames. As time goes by the fruit in the frames slowly decomposes and attract flies. In Transforming Vanitas Painting, the Carters begin the iPad still life with a dead frog on a table top, and slowly the frog devolves into a rotting pile of carrion attracting flies. The combination of iPad app meeting classical painting is an interesting one at least.
Ben Jones, Ladder, 2014. photo: Linsey Wallace
A truly great combination of technology and painting could be seen in Ben Jones’ (Paper Rad), Ladder, which integrates projection, animation, and painting. Two nicely painted wooden cutouts of Jones’ familiar ladder image appear twisted like DNA, flanking a large central canvas composed of bold shapes and colors in an architectural arrangement. Atop the painting a projection ran in a loop, mimicking the lines of the painting while moving and shifting colors. The synthesis of video projection and painting was done seamlessly, creating an interesting new way for paintings to exist in an era of digital interface.
Katsu, Drone Paintings, 2014. photo: Linsey Wallace
Other paintings at the show embraced technology in a different way. New York’s Hole Gallery, presented an installation by multi media artist KATSU, featuring abstract paintings made with the aid of a small drone helicopter. KATSU hacked a readily available drone helicopter by adding hardware and software that can operate a spray paint can. KATSU embraces the choppy and sometimes erratic gestures of the drone’s gyroscopic movements as a way of removing intentionality from his mark making. KATSU’s work continues a tradition of Abstract Expressionism in that the process is in many ways the work, and the mark making is merely a record of that process. The Drone Paintings installation, featured a video documenting the production of the paintings and the flight of the painting drone. The installation also had furniture to hang out on, a rug, coffee table, and gallerist , all covered in paintings made by the drone.
Dana-Louise Kirkpatrick, Off Limits but Blessed by the Fed, 2014. photo: courtesy of the artist
Other traditional 2D work at the fair is also attempting to add a technological edge to a traditional media.Off Limits but Blessed by the Fed, by Dana Louise Kirkpatrick is being shown by KM Fine Arts of Chicago, and is being boasted as the first ever piece of artwork that will be sold in exchange for Bitcoin. The piece references Expressionism and Primitivism in its mark making, and depicts a female figure with a central head wound in front of a confederate flag, amidst heroin needles, with a Bitcoin drawn across the bottom. The mixed media drawing is striking in scale and content, and KM Fine Arts hopes to fetch $18,500 in Bitcoin in exchange for the art.
Aron Demetz amazing carved wood sculpture. photos: Linsey Wallace
Aron Demetz’ carved human figure is so striking in scale and technique that it is shocking to discover this is the product of the human hand and not a machine. Aron Demetz affirms the relationship we have to nature in his wood carving by depicting a life size human form emerging from a tree stump, in one single carving. The smell of the wood and the intentionally rough parts to the sculpture’s surface provide the effect of a living being emerging from the tree. The seeming possibility of this being a transformation from tree to man, despite the permanency of the material, speaks to the Artist’s ability to transform the material in a masterful way.
Paintings by The Date Farmers. photo: Linsey Wallace
The ACE Gallery from Los Angeles had a great grouping of work by artists of various media, including one of the highlights of the show, paintings by the collaborative duo The Date Farmers. The Date Farmers are Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez; artists who have been working together to create multi media paintings since 1998. They appropriate elements of popular culture, graffiti, Mexican street culture, and advertising to create an exciting mix-mash of imagery that has a sense of humor and dark sense of commentary. Overall the fair had a great balance of contemporary work, and will hopefully lead to stimulation in the art economy by exposing Contemporary Art to new collector’s, and newly wealthy tech workers who have the ability to buy art as an investment in our future. Below are more highlights from the first ever Silicon Valley Contemporary…
Pancho Luna, Time, 2014. Mixed media. photo: Linsey Wallace.
Arnix, This Is My Body, 2012. photo: Linsey Wallace.
Performance Artist Tiffany Trenda mixing with the tech crowd. photo: Linsey Wallace
Sanford Biggers, Quilt #7. photo: Linsey Wallace.
Paintings by Guss Kemp. photo:Linsey Wallace.
Paul LaFolley, The Myth Of The Zeitgeist.
Desire Obtain Cherish, Yeah I Own This. So What?, 2014. photo: Linsey Wallace.
Philadelphia Artist Jamie Brett Treadwell, How Things Were Made, 2014. 30×14 in. photo: Linsey Wallace