Essay of the Exhibition - Printable Version (Close this window to return to the Catalogue)
THOUGHTS ON THE IMPACT OF YLEM ART SHOW 2001 by Eleanor Kent
80 artists sent work from all over the US and Mexico to celebrate YLEM's 20th year and its considerable influence on the world of art/science/technology.
The result of asking for one best work from each member was a spectacular show, full of color, light and sound. Some pieces were done during the 1980's and 1990's, and some made in 2001 especially for this show. Some fit easily into traditional categories, some were harder to classify, all were rich with meaning and unique beauty. Here are some comments on the works in the show.
DRIVING A BUS IN THE GALLERY
Steve Wilson's installation connected a bus driver's seat and passenger seat behind it to the "Next Bus" Internet address that tells the progress of buses in certain San Francisco Muni lines. The viewer could opt to follow the route on the console or see prerecorded images of the route. Because of small motors connected to the Internet the bus seats jiggled when a real bus was in motion.
In Barbara Lee's amazing walk-through environment the participant potentiated recorded music and sounds while traversing the outline of the body of a woman lying on her side. The audios, composed by Barbara Lee, Fleur Helsingor, Sylvia Pengilly and Beverly Reiser, combined randomly to make a different sound experience for each participant.
Nancy Worthington showed her chilling video game-like satire on the police state practices of our culture. Nancy Tector built an altar with a motion-sensing device that played tape about society's treatment of babies as commodities. Magi Amma's female figure in a rocking chair had a video head that played comments on the discouraging treatment of older women in our society.
KNIGHTS MOVES IN SPACE
Ronald Brown's wall hung sculpture had carefully placed wooden pegs with flanges represented all the possibleknight's moves on a chess board. Carlo Sequin's red translucent plastic sculpture used afused deposition modeling machine to embody his mathematical formula of a Scherk-Collinstoroid. Kennan Herrick's mobile of laser-cut steel plates hung from a frame and swayed gently. Nanette Wylde's Macintosh on a pedestal randomly generated poems every 20seconds from a base of 3.5 million possible haiku. Zoe Adorno had a fused dichroic glass abstract sculpture evocative of flowers.
SEXY BRONZE SURFACES
Corinne Whitaker's digitally designed polished bronze sculpture had a voluptuously smooth gleaming surface. Bathsheba Grossman's abstract bronze sculpture was designed with CAD software and prototyped with her own rapid deposition modeling device.. Ruth Asawa's circular wall-hung wire sculpture rayed out from a pentagonal star at its center. Richard Kline's white light hologram was embedded in a circular wall-hung sculpture of a goddess. Torrey Nommeson's assisted readymade consisted of a Macintosh computer with an eye that looked at everyone in the gallery and symbolized the surveillance of authorities in our lives.
Joan Truckenbrod's evocative image of people and things was of layers of scanned images manipulated with the computer. Loren Means exhibited a fascinating image of richly colored soap bubbles in deep reds and blues which contrasted with Dennis Summers' video still of letters that seemed to be on fire in a green background. Anna Urysin's black linear abstraction on a light background combined computer programming in Fortran with scanned images. Gordon Clyne's line-drawing abstraction of three women at a party was made with his own computer program. Michael Wright's staring self portrait was based on a video still that he transformed with a paint program. Daniel Shulman-Means' huge mismatched eyes were drawn with the computer.
Roger Ferragallo's painting of the universe was digitally affixed to the canvas. Valerie Sky's computer created abstraction looks like a beautiful meteorite whirling in space.Margaret Astrid Phanes' ritualistic round image surrounded by mystic symbols and Kit Monroe Pravda's shimmery collage were made by combining photographs with computergraphics. Larry Shaw combined the friendly image of the Golden Gate Bridge disolving in awhirling fractal fog in his digital collage. Michael Smit combined letters and patternswith computer drawing. Helen Golden took a scanned newspaper photograph and rearranged and manipulated it so that the colorful, enlarged dots became part of the compostion in her large digital print on archival paper.
POLITICAL FERVOR ON PAPER
Lucia Grossberger's collage of scanned self-portrait and painting by hand expresses theLatina woman's fears of fading away that she experiences in the contemporary Americanculture. Cole Rinehart created an algorithmic fractal image that looks like the stars, andmade it into a digital print surrounded by his poem, a passionate plea for saving our environment
Herbert Price's work was the emotionally stunning photograph of the sun rising exactlybetween the twin towers of the World Trade Center at the Winter Solstice. Its exquisite composition underlined the shocking tragedy of September 11 events. Roger Mulkey's image of Sydney Harbor, which looks like a snow scene because it was made with infra-red photography, was very wide because several images were joined by software. John Scarpa presented a 3-D photograph of one of his brilliant light sculptures and attached 3-D glasses so the viewer could enter that space. Grant Elliot's colorful microphotograph showed the interference contrast illumination of a defect of a semi-conductor. Robert Ishi showed a digitally manipulated image of a photo of the face on Mars in blazing red tones. Dale Scott exhibited a night photograph of a semi-nude fire breathing woman at the ritual of Burning Man.
MULTIPLE USES OF MULTIPLE MEDIA
Dorothy Simpson Krause's collage combined a digital print of sewing needle packets with one of her famous lenticular inlays to make a richly textured image in reds and blacks. Fran Valesco's abstract combined silkscreen, pencil, acrylic and India ink with computer graphics onpaper.
Edith Smith, who pioneered the combination of etching and computer graphics in the 1970's, exhibited one of her early prints on rag paper. Galen Howard had a multi-generational memoire in silkscreen with xeroxed images of letters and photographs.
Reed Altemus who has collected an immense archive of copier art by artists from all over the world, exhibited color copy prints of his own abstract computer graphics. Joan Price's collage combined photographs with scanned images. Barbara Plowman's collage included a scanning electron microscope photograph of a cancer cell, gold paint and computer graphics. Kathryn Arnold's digital CMYK print of digital and scanned images, manipulated and fused together is based on her 1000 Folded Paper Cranes' series.
BITS AND PIECES THAT FOOL THE EYE
Ken Knowlton's magnificent mosaic portrait could be viewed in several ways. From a distance thepicture was obviously a photograph of Einstein, but at closer view it dissolved into acollection of small seashells. It prompted to viewer to question assumptions about seeing and believing. He wrote the software for the main outline of the image then carefullyadjusted each shell by hand.
ANCIENT PAINTING TECHNIQUES WITH NEW TWISTS
Marjorie Mikasen's hard-edge oil painting on canvas was based on drawing and computer modeling. Trudy Reagan's painting, a fractal-like labyrinth in acrylic on lucite hung from the center of the gallery so it glowed as the light shone through it. Patrick McCollum's abstract oil painting on canvas is an example of what he calls Fractal Pointillism. Mike Mosher's ink drawings were made on pages of his father's old notes for a physics textbook as memorial and homage to his father, an electrical engineer.
DAZZLING IMAGES IN MOTION
Sylvia Pengilly's video showed a selection of striking video images of smoke and water, and also showed her dancing with her interactive image projections. Andrea Polli's "Ocusonics" demonstrated sounds made by the motions of her eyes captured by computer. An evocative sequence of eclectic video images by Ruth Eckland left interpretation up to the individual viewer. Patricia Tavenner's tape showed a vivid collage of flowers and colors. The moving images created on the computer by Anne Farrell was a biography and exploration of self. A Music Video by Dave Krzysik was in memory of Scott Bartlett. Pengilly and Tavenner put the six works on a master tape which played continuously in the gallery during the show.
A BOOK YOU COULD PICK UP AND SCRAMBLE
William Harroff showed four CD jewel boxes full of images and written references to the Revelation according to the Apocalypse that you could pick up and shake. Anna Campbell Bliss framed three pages from a book of her exploration of concepts of mind and recent brain research made with digital printing, silkscreen and direct printing. A postcard showed how the accordion style book looked when extended.
DRAMATIC PROJECTS BY PROXY
Kim Sterling showed photos of sections from the 105 foot by 7 foot mural of the history of flight that he designed on a Macintosh and produced on Durst Lambda Imaging System. The mural wraps around the lobby of an office in Arizona. Marsha Nygaard presented a photo of a maquette of dramatic solar-powered light sculpture gates made of bronze and glass 28 feet high set by a reflecting pool
Floating from the ceiling in the center of the gallery was Mary Steiglitz's eight foot banner of Fuji silk brocade with photographic digital inkjet print based on mineral imagery . Mary Teetor designed many tesselations and hand-embroidered them in colored threads on a cloth which was suspended from a rack to show both sides of her exquisitely meticulous stitching.
FASCINATING USES OF COMPUTER HARDWARE
Jim Pallas used circuit board technology to create a drawing/collage representing his hope of uniting the cultures of the world: past, present and future. Larry Ackerman made a light box with a drawing that honors his invented patron saint of electronic art St. Rubidium using another style of circuit board technology. Famous Melissa's huge American flag was painted on discarded computer chips wired together. It hung from the center of the gallery as a symbol of our patriotism, our technology and the shamefulness of our waste.
INTERNATIONAL INTERNET IMAGES
Nadja Breton of Mexico sent digital printouts of her images and poetry in Spanish about the pleasures, difficulties and necessity of connecting the world through computers. These pages are also displayed on the beautifully crafted pages of her website.
PLAYING WITH LIGHT
Eleanor Kent crocheted electro-luminescent wire to make a glowing lacy necklace mounted on a velvet board and plugged into the wall, combining ancient handwork with new light technology. Ranjit Bhatnagar made a joyful wall-hung box with light and little plastic bug-like things that danced around inside it making shadows on the front. Ed Duin's sculpture used a computer and moving polarized plastic parts that changed colors and shapes as you watched. Glenneth Lambert made a sensuously formed lighted wall sconce with photographs of nudes baked into the ceramic surface.
IN SUMMARY AND CONTINUING
The unifying principal of the show was the vitality and uniqueness of each piece. The works reflected the amazing diversity of the people who have belonged to YLEM over 20 years. Their joy in exploring new ideas and technology to express their individual passion continues. The impact of YLEM is ongoing.