Update: Noland 2.0, interactive video installation, 2011
My newest body of work, "Update" is an earnest exploration of the past, the present, and our aspirations for art. The show introduces humor into some of the most serious work of 20th Century, exploring ideas about the sublime, artistic truth, and Modernism in the context of our ubiquitously self-centered, "interactive" and ironic present.
Each of the pieces in this exhibition is an humorous take on a painting by a well known Mid-Century Modernist. Each of these original works evinced the ideals of high Modernism: specifically that an underlying truth about the world could be revealed by a rigorous exploration of form and medium alone. These works were intended to function in an eternal way, outside of cultural context and the viewer's personal experience. Today we are the center of our own worlds, constructing them from a disparate collections of images, sounds, text, and interactions. For us, the permanent and sublime may have become inaccessible, and an ironic stance seems to be the only one we can take.
Two of the pieces in this exhibition are interactive animated versions of a famous painting projected onto a canvas and controlled by custom software and a Microsoft Xbox Kinect game controller. Another is a piece of software written for a vintage Commodore 64 "personal computer" that generates over 65,000 variations on the form of Josef Albers' famous "Homage to the Square" series. A third set of works are digitally printed miniature versions of classic Mark Rothko paintings. Lastly, there are four mock museum posters, one for each of the artists' work included in the exhibition, featuring a thumbnail image downloaded from the Internet.
I am nostalgic for a time in which I didn't live, when artists tried to be rigorous and sincere in their approach to their work, in the hope that they, and we, would be transformed. But on the other hand, I do agree with Walter Benjamin that, "there is no better start for thinking than laughter. And, in particular, convulsion of the diaphragm usually provides better opportunities for thought than convulsion of the soul."