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December 08, 2005

Moving Pictures Review

Janet Kutner wrote a review of Moving Pictures in the Dallas Morning News today:

Experimental Art on the Move

ART REVIEW: Internet's influence seen in Dallas show
11:03 AM CST on Thursday, December 8, 2005
By JANET KUTNER / The Dallas Morning News

Now you see it, now you don't. Digitized paintings displayed at the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art provide an ever-changing array of colors, patterns and iconography.

"Moving Pictures" is the title of the show, which was co-curated by Dallas artists and University of Texas at Dallas professors John Pomara and Dean Terry. "Narratives with no beginning, middle or end" is what Mr. Terry calls these experimental works, which represent art on the run - symbolic of the Internet's pervasive influence and of the curators' desire to "open the gallery up to outside influences."

The professors put their philosophy into practice at UTD, where Mr. Terry's art and technology students take Mr. Pomara's painting classes and vice versa.

Everything here is in a state of flux, and some works are actually being created over the course of the show's seven-week run. An interactive installation by Max Kazemzadeh of Denton includes electromechanical pencils suspended from the ceiling, which produce abstract drawings on papers spread across the floor in response to people passing through the space.

Mr. Terry's own work, a vertical diptych titled, requires more effort on his part. Each morning he shoots a two- to three-minute video with his cellphone and e-mails it to the gallery, which digitally projects it on the lower portion of the wall. The previous day's video moves to the top, where it shares time with those that came before.

The imagery is hard to decipher, given the limited capabilities of Mr. Terry's cellphone camera and the blown-up proportions of the projected images.

But traces of landscapes, buildings or people can be detected here and there, including an organic shape that turns out to be his wife's knee.

Nine artists are represented in the exhibition, most from Texas but one from New York and one from Los Angeles.
Some works are far more sophisticated than others.

Casey Reas of Los Angeles wrote the software program that allows his computer to produce kaleidoscopic patterns tantamount to sensuous black-and-white drawings.

Cory Arcangel of New York fed all the digital data on his computer though a visual program that tried to translate it into imagery. The program spit the information back in the form of big colored pixels that read as geometric abstractions, a different pattern for each of the 31 days Mr. Arcangel went through the process.

Demian LaPlante of Dallas achieved high-level results with low-tech equipment. Whirling colors reminiscent of a tornado tossing debris through the air were done by filling five blenders mounted on a circular platform with colored liquids, turning them on, then walking around the perimeter shooting through the sides of the glass.

One of the most labor-intensive works is also one of the least successful. Dallasite Robert Flowers individually painted each of the 3,000 frames in Light Bearer with the help of a digital program. Unfortunately, the way he put them together, which involved layering, produced blurry images that ebb and flow at such a dizzying pace as to induce vertigo.

Paul Slocum of Dallas took it to the limit, with better results. His Time-Lapse, compiled from more than 1,000 images on his own home page, all of which he either created or modified, is engrossing. It's accompanied by an audio, listened to through earphones. Clips from songs by U2, Moby and Madonna run at high speed, keeping pace with pulsating images projected on the wall.

Mary Benedicto and Karen Mahaffy use simpler means. Ms. Benedicto of Dallas creates lyrical color field paintings by filming fabrics.
Ms. Mahaffy of San Antonio paints digital still lifes that go through subtle changes before the viewer's eyes. Ice cubes slowly melt, forming condensation on the outside of a glass. The inside of a ripe apple first turns brown, then gathers mold.

Point of correction: The videos in my piece are 15 seconds long, not 2-3 minutes, and the knee is mine, not my wife's - her's looks much better than mine, and is significantly less hairy.


Posted by Dean Terry at December 8, 2005 08:16 PM




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