Bill Viola is one of the leading artists in the world today. He specializes in works that are in reference to universal human experiences. In particular, Viola works in video, and through that works with a variety of different mediums; including video installations, videotapes, sound environments, videos displayed on flat panels, electronic music performances, and even pieces geared for the broadcast of television.
One of Viola’s video pieces, titled “The Reflecting Pool”, left me very intrigued. When I first started viewing the video, I had no idea what the outcome would be, but Viola’s work was surely more interesting and captivating than I expected it to be. Upon first seeing the figure that initially emerges, I assumed that the remainder of the video would have the focal point aimed at him. Little did I know that the water below him would provide so much visual activity and stimulation for the viewer.
I particularly enjoyed this work by Viola because it left me with a clean, simple, and refreshing taste of what video art can be. Viola expertly created an intriguing yet calming piece all in one.
Bill Viola’s “Reflecting Pool”
Artist Robin Rhode works in a number of disciplines in the artistic world. Rhode expresses himself through photography, drawing, sculpture, and performance. Much of his work is derived from his experiences growing up in South Africa, and being surrounded by street art, as well as the up and coming impacts of music, film, and sports on the youth at the time. Rhode uses landscape to turn it into something entirely different. He combines two-dimensional ideas and carries them out in a three-dimensional fashion.
One of Rhode’s works, titled “Apparatus” is an excellent example of combining the two-dimensional print of a tennis table, with the addition of a three-dimensional figure interacting with the print as if the objects were three-dimensional, as well. While the viewer can still tell that not all of the aspects of the photograph are three-dimensional, there is still a greater sense of depth because of the contrasting dimensional differences.
Rhode successfully combines different art forms to create works that are not only visually interesting, but also extremely unique and make statements of their own.
Robin Rhode’s “Apparatus”, 2009
Photographer Alec Soth works primarily with portraits of people, as well as snapshots of architecture. The images he so expertly captures range from individuals of all different ages and backgrounds. I found his projects to be particularly captivating in their content.
One project in particular I enjoyed was titled “Paris/Minnesota”. The project is made up of 45 photographs, taken in both Paris and Minnesota. The juxtaposition Soth created between the two very different locations is fascinating to me. I felt as though his images were very well thought out. He captured people of Minnesota in situations similar to those in Paris, yet because of the vast differences in the two parts of the world, the mood is much different in the two sets of photos. However, Soth was still able to capture an enormous amount of emotion in all of the individuals he photographed.
In Soth’s artist statement he explained that he photographs men and women in different ways. He described his way of photographing men as more comical and poking fun of them in a sense. As for women, Soth photographs them in a more reverent fashion. Soth feels this is due to the fact that he identifies more with men, and is therefore more comfortable photographing them. Says Soth, “Photography is as much about the way I respond to the subject as it is about the subject itself.”
I think this is evident in the success of Soth’s work, and I truly enjoyed reviewing the projects he has developed over the years as an artist.
“Members of the Bemidji Lumberjacks High School Varsity Girls Basketball Team”
Artist Cory Archangel is a very well-rounded creator, with experience in a number of different mediums. Archangel has worked with music, video, the performing arts, drawing, and even video game modifications. The artist is well known for his video game work, in particular.
Archangel’s official website is comprised of an extremely long list of over 200 projects he has worked on. However, you are able to view things from the lengthy list in categories of your choosing; such as by medium, series, or year created. The works start in year 1991 and span until the year 2013.
I was interested in the artist’s “Game Mods” section of mediums, in particular. Under this one single category alone, I was able to find a great number of different projects Archangel has created throughout the years.
One project titled, “Super Slow Tetris”, created in 2004, intrigued me. The work is an interactive game, but not exactly the kind of interaction one would expect from a game of tetris. The artist created the work in order to provoke it’s viewers/players. Unlike a normal game of tetris, this one takes nearly 8 hours for the blocks to fall. The player is still able to move the pieces from left to right, but Archangel designed the game in a way that allows the pixels to move in the span of about one minute, as opposed to instantly.
I found this new take on a classic and well known game to be both creative and humorous.
Archangel even provides links on his website to similar projects he has worked on. Along with his “Super Slow Tetris”, he has created several other slow-paced interactive games; titled “Composition #7” and “Space Invader”.
While Archangel’s website was a bit overwhelming at first because of the amount of work he had to show, I found his individual pieces to show a great deal of ingenuity and creativity.
Artist Jon Gitelson creates artworks through the means of digital media; mainly photography, but expands upon his photographs with his own personal artistic style. Gitelson lives in Chicago, Illinois, and much of his work is derived from his experiences and day-to-day lifestyle of living in the city.
Gitelson has completed a great deal of large artistic projects; many of which have spanned over the course of several years to finish. One of Gitelson’s projects, titled “The Garbage Can Project”, was a series of photographs taken daily from December 2005 until March 2008. Gitelson was interested in the thefts of garbage cans in the city, and chose to document his own personal garbage cans outside of his apartment everyday. If Gitelson’s cans were ever stolen, he would contact the City of Chicago to have them replaced, and kept track of how many thefts occured over the three year span. Gitleson took note of the number of cans remaining, their position, as well as objects placed on top of or near them by passersby.
After documenting this daily for quite some time, finally, in October 2006, Gitelson chose to begin videotaping the location of the garbage cans 24/7. Gitelson analyzed the footage each day, finding passersby to interact with the cans in ways that surprised the artist a great deal. Discarded objects were oftentimes placed on top of the cans, such as hats and used coffee cups, and Gitelson found in his footage that even businessmen would sometimes pick up the objects and use them themselves.
Gitelson created a website for viewers to see footage, photographs, a timeline of events, frequently appearing people, as well as particularly interesting interactions with the garbage cans. To learn more about the project, the link can be found here:
I found Gitelson’s work to be very interesting. I was intrigued by the variety of projects he has worked on, as well as the basis for which a lot of his work spans from. By looking through much of his work, I felt as though I got a taste of what it feels like to be living in the City of Chicago. I feel Gitelson successfully connected his love for art and love of his city in the majority of his works.
Artist Kelli Connell is a contemporary photographer. With a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas, Connell is best known for her series of work titled Double Life. Connell is interested in raising questions through her work, and certainly does just that in her Double Life series; which was an ongoing project from the year 2002 to 2010.
The Double Life body of work is a collection of images of one woman, who appears to be in a romantic relationship with herself. The images are of the “couple” doing everyday activities, and range from playing pool together, to riding in a car, to hugging one another. The images span from capturing the “couple” in public locations to witnessing them in very private and intimate scenes.
I found Connell’s work to be very intriguing. Prior to reading the artist’s statement about the work, I had no idea that the models in each image were the same individual. After reading more about Connell’s conceptual standing on the series, I am very impressed that she was able to create such flawlessly realistic images through scanning and manipulating images in Photoshop. According to the artist, the basis of her work can be described as “an autobiographical questioning of sexuality and gender roles that shape the identity of the self in intimate relationships”. I feel Connell went about exploring these concepts in an intelligent and unique way. I enjoyed looking through the images before and after knowing Connell’s concept behind them. Prior to reading her artist statement, I was interested in the unknown and the story behind her images. However; after reading the artist statement, I was merely dazzled by the skill Connell holds in manipulating digital media in an extremely realistic manner.
Image from Connell’s 2005-2006 work of Double Life.
After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in History and Geography from the University of Vermont , artist Matt Siber continued on to the Columbia College Chicago, where he got his MFA in Photography. Siber’s work today is mainly in the mediums of photography, sculpture, digital imaging, video, and installation pieces.
One of his series of work titled, “The Untitled Project”, combines photography and digital imaging to produce a series of photographs that explore the absence of the printed word. Siber explains in his artist statement that “The Untitled Project” came from an interest in the nature of power. Says Siber, “the project explores the manifestation of power between large groups of people in the form of public and semi-public language.” With the missing text from each photograph, a good deal of attention is drawn to the role text has in the world; particularly in landscape. Siber also wanted to accentuate other types of communicating. Siber chose to do this through his images of colors, signs and symbols, and corporate branding.
Siber’s project is displayed in three parts; as he took images and digitally modified their use of text from all around the world; in North America, Europe, and even China.
Matt Siber’s “Untitled #20”, 2003 from his North America work in the “Untitled Project”
Siber’s “Untitled #36”, 2005/6 from his Europe work in the “Untitled Project”
Siber’s “Untitled #46”, 2009 from his China work in the “Untitled Project”
I found Siber’s work to be extremely well done. Oftentimes as a viewer it’s easy to get lost in the complex concepts behind an artist’s work. I felt Siber’s “Untitled Project” was refreshing in a sense that while it still held integrity in having a strong conceptual basis, it was a little bit easier to comprehend, and moreover, appreciate as a viewer and emerging artist.
Jason Salavon’s “Color Wheel”
Artist Jason Salavon holds a reputable art background with degrees from both the University of Texas at Austin and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has previously worked in the video game industry, which proves to provide a great deal of his inspiration for his work today. Salavon creates art through the reconstruction and manipulation of media to construct a new images. Through this process, Salavon is able to create a wide spectrum of artwork.
Upon looking through Salavon’s works, I discovered one that was not only visually intriguing to look at, but after reading his artist statement as to the concepts behind it, I am now even more fascinated with the theoretical approaches Salavon uses. Salavon’s piece titled, “Color Wheel” 2012, appears to be just that, a color wheel, upon first glance. However; after further investigation, it can be seen that there is much more to the piece than first meets the eye. What initially looks to be your standard color wheel turns out to be a color wheel composed entirely of thousands of images found from search engine queries for the different color terms of the color wheel. For example, Salavon searched ‘Red’, ‘Red Orange’, ‘Orange’, ‘Yellow Orange’, ‘Yellow’, ‘Green’, ‘Yellow Green’, ‘Blue Green’, ‘Blue’, ‘Blue Violet’, ‘Violet’, and ‘Red Violet’, and used the images he found to make up each section of the corresponding spot on the color wheel. As Salavon explained in his artist statement, most of the queries for ‘orange’ and ‘red’, for example, provided mainly orange and red things. However; to Salavon’s surprise, the terms ‘+blue’ and ‘+violet’ rendered images that were much more flesh-toned and “most definitely not safe for work”, as he stated.
I found this piece of Salavon’s to be particularly interesting because of the concepts behind it, and enjoyed taking a closer look at the individual images that comprised each color section to see the media’s somewhat skewed idea of what the colors actually are.
Jenny Holzer’s “Washington 2004″
With a strong background and degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, Jenny Holzer has established herself as a successful conceptual artist. Holzer’s work is generally created on a very large scale, and ranges from billboard advertisements to projections onto buildings and other large public structures and landscapes, to outdoor displays that are illuminated electronically. Holzer doesn’t shy away from experimenting with a wide array of mediums in her work. LED lights, painted signs, stone furniture, t-shirts, stickers, bronze plaques, painting, photography, sound, and video have all impacted her work in one way or another. Holzer has even ventured where some artists wouldn’t dream of; to the world of dance and writing. Through these different means of the arts, Holzer has worked on several dance projects, along with publishing several books.
After reviewing a good deal of Holzer’s work, it is very evident that she prefers to make her statements through the use of large, bold fonts and inquisitively powerful statements. As Holzer explains, “I used language because I wanted to offer content that people- not necessarily art people- could understand.” In one of Holzer’s many projection works, titled “Washington 2004″, I particularly enjoyed the connection she drew with the location of her artwork and the content of it. For example, in the series of 6 projections Holzer created in this work, several of them depict an official document from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They address the Iran-Iraq War, as well as the topic of domestic political issues. However, some of the sections on the documents are crossed out with a single line or marked through completely, to keep the viewer from reading the sections all together. Not only did Holzer provide a great deal of visual interest and intrigue for the viewer with this decision to hide some of the wording, but she also picked the optimal location to exhibit the work. Washington DC is not only the capital, but also the first location in the country many people think of when they think of government and secretive documents such as the ones she projects onto the building.
I find it very interesting and refreshing that Holzer chooses to approach the visual arts in a manner such as this. Oftentimes people only think of art as being a picture or some sort of image. I find it fascinating that Holzer still successfully manages to provide thought-provoking work to the public eye that is so simple in theory, yet complex in inquisition.
Artist Jordan Tate is not only the Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Cincinnati, but also a successful contemporary artist that works primarily in photography. Fellow studio art major, UMW student Sidney Mullis, had the privilege of working under Tate this past summer through a study-abroad program. I had the opportunity to get an inside look from Sidney about Tate; not only as a professor, but as an artist as well.
Sidney explained to me that Tate has a BFA in Philosophy. Upon reviewing some of Tate’s work, it became clear to me that his knowledge of philosophy is an integral part of his art. Tate is also a very intellectual individual; which Sidney found to make her role as his student quite challenging, at times. His work is very conceptually driven, and without prior background knowledge of his artwork, viewers can oftentimes become easily lost on the conceptualization behind it.
Additionally, Sidney described to me the importance of gamuts in Tate’s pieces. This became even more clear upon looking at his website, where his most recent collection of work is titled, “Gamut Warning” (2012). After doing a little research to find out what exactly a gamut was, I discovered that it is the full range or compass of something; a range from one extreme to another. Knowing this information certainly helped me when reviewing the “Gamut Warning” collection, which is a series of photographs, printed as a 4-color newsprint book, and also placed in a horizontal orientation when displayed for viewing on a wall. The work is comprised of individual photographs and spreads of color that all differ from one another. The images vary greatly from one another, and range from constellations to busts to scientific plastic tubes.
Without an artist statement of the concept behind this collection, I find the work a bit difficult to understand. I feel that by having a greater amount of background knowledge, which was not provided on his website, viewers could begin to understand his work on a deeper level, as well as take more meaning away from the series altogether. I would be very interested to hear Tate speak from a conceptual standpoint on this particular series of work.
However, Tate explains in his “New Work” collection of photographs that his focus was to take photographs that acknowledged “the image-maker as the mediator of sight, as well as an exploration of process and practice in contemporary image viewing and production”; as opposed to taking photographs for the sole purpose of making a “mechanical reproduction”. As a viewer, I am left wondering if this concept was a driving force in his newest collection of work, “Gamut Warning”, as well.
Full display of Tate’s images from “Gamut Warning”.
Piece from Tate’s “New Work” collection. “New Work #141″
Here is a link to Tate’s blog, “I like this art”; where he compiles a great deal of works, articles, and artists he finds inspirational.
While I found it challenging to fully understand Tate’s concept on his work, overall I found researching and discussing him to be extremely fascinating and inspirational, as I feel he is going about the world of photography and image viewing in an entirely new and thought-provoking manner. I am very interested and excited to see future works created by Jordan Tate.
Artist Roger Sayre proves to be a well rounded individual. After receiving his BFA from Bowling Green University, continuing on to receive his MFA from Pratt Institute, Sayre is currently a professor at the Dyson College of Arts and Scienes. Sayre’s work spans from photography to installations to computer-generated images.
One of Sayre’s pieces that I found to be particularly fascinating is titled, “Aesop’s Dog”. The piece is constructed through the hanging of dog biscuits and tennis balls from a grate on the ceiling. Light is then projected onto the hanging objects, and the reflection of a dog’s face is cast as a shadow onto the wall. The items are hung in such a fashion that make the dog appear to be staring at the objects longingly; successfully providing meaning and almost a human-like emotion to the piece.
Roger Sayre’s “Aesop’s Dog”
Artist Man Ray created art in both the Dada and Surrealist styles. His work covered a wide spectrum of mediums, as he created paintings, photographs, sculptures, illustrations, and even film. Additionally, he was both an inventor and philosopher. Ray was seen as a leading avant-garde photographer of the 1920′s, 30′s, and 40′s, and was well known for his portraits and fashion photographs. As Ray was best known for his photographs, one of his well-known works, “Tears”, created between 1930-1932, speaks volumes about his talent as an artist.
“Tears” is a single black and white photograph that evokes a great deal of emotion from the viewer. Even though the subject has tears, I feel that the feelings of grief and distress would still come across even if the tears were not there. I enjoy the fact that the only part of the subject’s face the viewer can see are her eyes, because I feel it leaves the viewer wanting more. “Tears” is just one example of a great number of Ray’s exceptional works as a talented Surrealist artist.
Man Ray’s “Tears”
Artist Jeff Baij creates digital art, mainly through the use of Photoshop. All of his work is solely displayed online. He views his website, “in its entirety is the piece, and all of the entries and collections of entries are excerpts from that larger piece.” He begins most of his work after finding something on the internet that inspires him, and alters it to make it his own. His art ranges from photos of his dishes in the kitchen to altered photographs to digital animations.
Jeff Baij was an incredibly interesting artist to research. I was surprised to find that he also creates a piece of art a day, as we are doing the same assignment in our Digi class. Some of his work was difficult for me to see as art, but because of the definition of digital arts, everything he creates on a computer and posts to his site technically is considered art.