David Horvitz – Art Review

By Maddy Plimmer

During his artist residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, David Horvitz created a publication to coincide with his stay there. He sent regular emails over a week documenting his experiences in Dublin, and anyone was able to sign up to receive the emails. Horvitz sent poems, photos and sort of diary passages. These emails were then printed, scanned into a computer and compiled into a .pdf file which is now available on his website.

In the emails he discusses art works that were not a part of his then current residency. He discusses his ongoing restaurant spoon collection, and the joys of taking them out of their natural cycle and grouping them together like a bouquet of flowers. He reveals that he has always wanted to make a series of photographic self-portraits standing next to trees. This publication focuses on his personal experience of the residency, rather than the art that came directly out of it.

The format of the online publication, although very digital, actually becomes presented more as a print publication. The emails have been physically printed then scanned into the computer in order to reintroduce them into a virtual space, which places value on the material qualities of the printed email. The photos in the emails becomes cropped and spread across several pages, and the printer was running out of ink, which has left faded streaks in the images.  Horvitz could have easily taken screenshot of the emails and presented them in their screen form, but there has clearly been a desire for the materiality of the printed email. It gives these emails a greater relationship to a traditional correspondence, and also makes me think of a treasured message. Unless an email has some really important information, or has great sentimental value, it would seem unusual to print it. To allow this information to occupy physical space unnecessarily, speaks to me about a cherishing of the content.

This publicly available, yet intimate set of communications is a fresh interpretation of the publication that assists the exhibition. It gives insight into the artist’s process, and brings his art into a broader context.

The entire publication is available in the link below.

http://www.davidhorvitz.com/DublinFoxes.pdf

Phone Arts – Publication Review

By Maddy Plimmer

http://phonearts.net/

Did you know you can get a drawing application on your phone?

Did you know you could makes .gifs on your phone?

Did you know you could make 3D rendered animations on your phone?

Well, phonearts.net does and have created a site for the publication of art made in your little portable studio.  The sole purpose of the user-contributed blog is to display art works made on cellphones. The resulting artworks range from simple abstract digital paintings, to the rather more complicated 3D .gifs. It is a celebration of easily accessible technology, and an exploration of its limitations (or rather, lack of).

It was founded by Guillaume Hugon and Daniel Littlewood. The blog exists on a tumblr-built site, but it has its own domain name and favicon, which gives the website a sense of professionalism.  It still however allows for people to follow the posts via their tumblr dashboard. Only some of the works are credited to the artist, which seems inconsistent, and perhaps doesn’t embrace the spirit of the using of a widely accessible technology and making it possible for users to submit work. Only known artists seem to be named as contributors almost as if to elevate their work in relation to the non-credited works, which are simply labeled “submissions.”  However, it is not known whether or not these submissions have been made anonymously, and therefore they would be unable to credit the artist.

I like the celebrative exploration of cell phone technology, however I feel the layout of the blog could reflect this more by giving each piece more white space around it.  The layout is somewhat cramped and cluttered, which is heightened but the variation in size and shape of the art works. Overall, I am drawn to the concept of the site but I would be happier to see the presentation be altered to give the works more space and perhaps even some captions on the images.

exibbit.com – Online Art Review

By Maddy Plimmer

You could stop at 5 or 6 dealer galleries or just one! The days of 40% commission are over, because now it’s only US$10 a month to set up an online gallery with http://exhibbit.com/.

Vesa Peltonen is just one of many artists currently exhibiting work. As you click on his name and image to enter the gallery, you are briefly shown some text about the artist while the gallery loads, so we know going in that he is as dedicated to his art as he is to protecting and celebrating human rights. Once loaded, you find yourself situated within a virtual gallery. It is a long white room with tall narrow windows to provide natural light and marble floors. There is also a cushioned seat at either end, which is nice if you need to sit down or would like to contemplate the works for an extended period of time.  There is the option for a tour of the gallery, but I decided to use the arrows keys and find my way around myself. Despite becoming briefly trapped in the ceiling, I did enjoy floating around the room, moving through ghost people and furniture to view the mixed media limited edition prints. It was nice to be able to get up really close and see every pixel of the work. The other people viewing the works weren’t bothering me in the beginning, largely because they were see-through and I was able to move through them, however I did later decide I wanted to be alone with the art, so I got rid of them.

I then decided that I wanted to see these works on a magenta wall, so I made that happen.

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I thought this was a very handy feature. Gone are the days when one’s entire critique could consist of “I’d like them so much better if the wall was painted magenta!”

Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Vesa Peltonen’s exhibition in one of exhibbit’s many galleries. It could perhaps of benefitted from some higher resolution images of the works, but I liked that I as the viewer had control over the exhibition space. I don’t know what Vesa Peltonen thinks of magenta walls but at the end of the day, this was my viewing experience, and I tailored it to my tastes. I don’t really know how these features enhance the artworks, or allow

Aram Bartholl: Paint figure drawing class – Online Artwork Review

By Maddy Plimmer

Aram Bartholl’s “Paint figure drawing class” combines the amusing nostalgia of MS paint with the quiet poise of a figure drawing class. He reinvents the traditional life drawing class by infusing it with post-internet shitty aesthetics. There are the following restrictions on how participants must draw in the class: They must draw with a computer mouse on a version of a simple computer drawing application, such as Paintxp or Gpaint. No layers, gradients or antialiasing is allowed in the document, and there is a maximum of 3 undos and 48 colours permitted.

Having these restrictions on how the work is made seems as if it’s an attempt to more closely mimic how drawing on paper operates. You can’t exactly draw underneath something you’ve already drawn on the page, nor can you quickly create a smooth gradient and completely remove a mark you’ve made. It creates a more simulated environment. Instead of simply creating a space to do life drawing digitally, it strives to recreate the scenario of the class within a somewhat accurate framework. It speaks to the limitations of virtual technology, and also perhaps how we try to create these digital spaces within an already existing structure. We save a pretend file into a pretend folder on our pretend desktop. Technology creates this window into the cybernetic world, which is separate yet engrained in our corporeal experience. Separate because it is fabricated, engrained because the windows are everywhere. Probably in your pocket and definitely in front of you right now. This constructed space that has limitations entirely different to the limitations of the physical world, however we attempt to situate all its elements within a tangible-world context. We further constrain what a technology can do, by further inflicting our human context on it, but it is also an important part of computers usability is enhanced. Sure, we could create a completely new mode of thought for how we use technology, but by situating it in our already understood context, they are easier and more instinctive to use.

This work to me is not just a class, but rather a participatory performance exhibition. It clearly has roots in conceptual post-internet practice, as a post-internet artist set up the class.  The resulting drawings the naïve drawing style of online memes, and reflect the trollpunk style born out of humans interaction with linear digital technology. This performance celebrates the merging of the traditional with the new, and humans with technology within a fine art context, so let’s join in and embrace the Internet ugly!

http://www.datenform.de/paint-figure-drawing-class.html

New Representation Part II by Andre Hemer – Exhibition Review

By Maddy Plimmer

I first saw Andre Hemer’s work in the book Art and the Internet. Published was his wall painting entitled “Screensaver,” which mimics the movement of gliding screensaver imagery that bounces off the edges of screens into unpredictable directions. Hemer’s work focuses on replicating digital imagery with paint while examining these visuals as motifs of current pop culture. I was made aware of his exhibition at Bartley + Company by the public Facebook event and I attended the opening. Seeing his painted works that are part of “New Representation part II” in physical space was a very different experience to seeing their images online. The exhibition consisted of abstract paintings on canvas; their style and movement, to me, simulated the actions involved in using touch screen technology. The quality of the paint was very different in person, and I enjoyed being able to see the tactile and three-dimensional nature of the large blobs of paint as well as the gestural fluidity apparent in the thinner watered down layers of paint.  The gallery employed very standard methods for the piece’s display, with white walls, and balanced uniform hanging, but I do believe it was appropriate for this kind of dealer gallery exhibition. The space was small, and as some of the works were large it could have helpful to have been able to see the larger works from a distance, but I don’t feel as if this was a detriment to their display, especially since they were not so large that you couldn’t see the entire image as a whole. A physical exhibition was definitely the best mode for exhibiting these art works, especially since there was far more to the paintings than I ever realized having only seen their images online. It would have been cool to have seen the paintings given more space, however considering the purpose of the exhibition was to sell the works, the amount of works in the small space makes sense and is appropriate. The subject matter comes from a virtual, simulated digital experiences, however, these are works that rely on a physical viewing to be fully and accurately observed, and it was very rewarding to finally see Hemer’s work in its true form.

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Riverofthe.net – Online Art Review

By Maddy Plimmer

Riverofthe.net

Before there was Vine, there was Riverofthe.net. Launched in 2010 by video artist Ryan Trecartin and founder of Tumblr David Karp, the website consists of 10 second videos that occupy the entire Internet window. The videos are collection of Ryan Trecartin’s own work, videos found on the web and videos uploaded by visitors to the site. This is similar to the format of the popular video sharing cell phone app “Vine,” in which users upload 7 second videos to be viewed by their followers and those watching on the website www.vpeeker.com.

It is interesting to see how the short time frame allocated for the videos on both Vine and Riverofthe.net, has been used in such different ways. Videos uploaded via Vine, are often fast paced. The 7 seconds are filled with quick cuts and several short scenes in order to allow for a brief dialogue. They seem to all subscribe to a mutual unwritten goal of including as many quick scenes of humorous dialogue as possible, and certainly follow a sequential order with a set-up and punch line.

Following suit from Trecartin’s example, the user-contributed videos on Riverofthe.net are far more nonsensical, and slow paced than how people approached Vine. They don’t attempt to tackle more than one shot, scene or idea; rather one finished or repetitive movement occupies the full 10 seconds. All the videos are very disparate in tone and content, so the way they are played in a random order definitely mimics a sort of mash-up of everything that can be experienced on the Internet. I really enjoy the way Ryan Trecartin’s work is shown in amongst found and donated video. He lets his work be surrounded by the culture it is referencing, and influenced by, such as b-grade omegle footage, and a middle-aged man dancing alone to techno music. This idea of accessible technology, and average quality is present throughout all the works, even Trecartin’s films, and it’s nice to see the purposeful low quality of his work, played along side unintentional low quality works. In a way, Trecartin and Karp have set up a mode for exhibiting his work in a way that allows it to be in very direct conversation with the culture surrounding it. It’s like a more isolated, and regulated version of Youtube.com, another site where Trecartin often displays his works, except the user is shown works without choice of what they are shown. This is something that brings the site closer to a form of exhibition, as the audience does not select what they watch and when, like on Youtube.com. Like the Internet itself, Riverofthe.net is a collaborative montage of a variety of content, ever changing and growing.

Toner Party – Exhibition Review

By Maddy Plimmer

Although I didn’t have the pleasure of attending the 2014 exhibition “Toner Party,” it is the concept of the exhibition that I find most satisfying.  Hosted by Apothecary gallery in North Carolina, artist’s works were printed in black and white and put on the walls in one large chaotic collage, to reflect the spontaneous and rapid pace of the creation and consumption of many contemporary artworks.  The show contained works from international artists, with some works being sent via email to make it to the show. The works also ranged from photocopies of paintings, to poster designs and other commercial work. However all the works were influenced by the Internet aesthetic, and some even had a somewhat 1980s influence. The way the works are displayed in a nonsensical, overlapping patchwork leaving no gaps of wall showing, is similar to a how stereotypical teenager’s bedroom would be littered with posters of fad bands and models.  It creates a sense of over stimulation, an unedited spread of contemporary culture, or more specifically and unedited cross-section of the Post Internet movement. This untidy, and overwhelming arrangement of works also mimics the fast pace and constant stimulation one can find on the Internet. The display method is a part of a concept that overrides the concepts of the individual pieces. It appears as if the pieces were selected based on their appearance and their ability to sit harmoniously in the group. The mixing of fine art pieces and old gig posters creates a nice assortment of images and text.

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The cheap bulk approach to printing the artworks is interesting in terms of a renouncement of traditional modes of presenting art.  It tends to quantity over quality. The individual works are not given space and carefully selected to be considered on their own and then discussed from a metre away. Rather they make up part of a whole, the tactic for their display becomes more the art than the actual works. They are part of a larger composition now.  A composition that allows for maximum art consumption.