Featuring new works by Seth Curcio, Bradley Hyppa, and Benjamin Meyer
Opening: May 6, 2011, 7 - 10pm
Exhibition: May 6 - June 4, 2011
Gallery Hours: Thursday - Saturday, 1 - 6pm
The Lab is excited to announce a visual arts exhibition featuring Seth Curcio, Bradley Hyppa, and Benjamin Meyer, three emerging artists with different, contemporary approaches to narrative, landscape, and the perception of space. The works in this show use bold color, graphical abstraction, and sourced imagery to examine how landscape can covey social identities, technological anxieties, and a new sense of place.
Visual perception and sensation are intensely personal phenomena and though they can be described, their specific character and qualities remain ultimately unknowable in other people. No one can empirically experience what another human being is experiencing. This gap in our collective knowledge of one another can be vexing and intriguing, fertile ground for both art and technology.
Ben Meyer’s paintings present unstable imagery, representations pieced together from flat segments of color that coalesce into rough landscapes. Using contrast, saturation, and subtle relationships, these fragments imply modeled light, atmospheric depth, and a jumbled impulse toward classical pictorial perspective. In other areas, the delicate boundaries between colors form trajectories, and the weight and contrast of the color palette becomes momentum through mathematical space, emergent forms suggesting virtual environments. The Constructivist painters in the early twentieth century used flat fields of color to celebrate the achievements of aerial landscape photography. From an era informed by satellite technology, Meyer’s images suggest the speed of digital transmission, though by including loosely identifiable landscape imagery, these new works reveal an ambivalence about the omniscient ambitions of contemporary technology, and a concurrent dedication to the slow, personal idiosyncrasies of precise color mixing and traditional studio materials.
Bradley Hyppa’s videos and multi-media installations similarly vacillate between depicting basic, abstracted spatial relationships and presenting flat, intense colors in intricate choreographies. Using the reflective and translucent properties of plexiglass, and incorporating the gallery walls and floors as projection surfaces, the total ambient effect of arbitrary rendering for an irrational space, (2011) within the gallery is phenomenological, as real-time glow, color bleed, and reflections blur the boundaries of where the piece begins and ends, involving viewers physically in a set of spatial relations. Building on works that deal explicitly with the phenomena of human perception in using light and space, like James Turrell’s The Light Inside, (2000), Hyppa leaves actual boundaries open for individual interaction, an invitation underlined by the pacing of the shifting, rotating patterns mimic a continuous, unhurried human stride.
Seth Curcio’s work centers on a publicized search for the wreckage of a recent plane crash, and examines both the media evidence of this event available on the internet, and the artist’s own position, the limited vantage point of a node on the vast and complex information network. The Search, (2011), consists of a grid of digital prints from internet and media sources, showing what is apparently an area of the ocean that may have been involved. The distinct sections suggest the methodology of a search party, managing an enormous task. A continuous surface without a horizon, the piece visually echoes Vija Celmins’ drawings from photographs from the 60s and 70s. But while those works studiously tamed nature, mastered it with careful observation, Curcio’s piece, placed within a harrowing narrative, emphasizes his inability to actually see any of the water directly, foregrounding layers of mediation, and accumulating both facts and questions. This desire to see something beyond our abilities, the ocean floor in utter darkness, is manifested in the series of four Sonar Images (2011), which employ technology to translate the information in sound waves to our preferred mode of perception.
All three of the artists in Pursuing a Calculated Distance grapple inventively with the power, pleasure, and limitation of visual sensation.
Bradley Hyppa (b. 1979) received his MFA in Conceptual/Information Arts from San Francisco State University in 2007. He began experimenting with digital video at the University of Washington where he earned a BA in Digital Cinema and Political Science. In 2005 he received a Jack and Gertrude Murphy Fellowship from the San Francisco Foundation and worked as a Research Associate in the Media Technologies Lab at Hewlett-Packard in 2006.
Benjamin Meyer (b. 1981) makes paintings that explore pictorial space, structure, and perception through the fragmentation of image. He received his MFA from San Francisco State University in 2007.