Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Two shows open Saturday, May 10, at Artspace in New Haven

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Forced Collaboration
David Politzer: Hyper Democratic Landscapes
May 10—June 28, 2014.
Opening: Sat., May 10, 5—8 p.m.

Artspace press release

Two shows open at Artspace Sat. night, May 10: the group show Forced Collaboration and David Politzer's Hyper Democratic Landscapes. The opening reception will occur from 5—8 p.m.

Forced Collaboration pairs 12 artists (6 collaborations) with wildly different practices. The artists are strangers to each other; selected by the curator (Jacob Rhodes) to exchange a finished work and to re-create that work by forcing themselves on it in any way they please. No preconceptions stain their attempts; no obligations of friendship or acquaintance constrain what they can or cannot do.

"Forced Collaboration"

In the highly competitive contemporary art world, both success and failure are continually on display and are often signaled by proximity to known successes or failures. A single group show with a known success can make a career. An unfortunate collaboration can break it.

Our novel form of interaction raises questions about the nature of collaboration and competition, success and failure. Is competition inherent in collaboration? Will the artists move toward unity and resolution, merging opposed disciplines, practices, and aesthetic sensibilities, or will they subjugate and corrupt the other artist’s work? And which would be best for each artist? Should they trust the other artist to treat their work in a collaborative way or should they forcibly impose their vision of how the other artist’s work ought to be?

Featured artists are Chris Bors, Daniel Bozhkov, Ilana Harris-Babou, Kerry Cox, Oliver Herring, David Humphrey, Bridget Mullen, Mariah Robertson, Mandolyn Wilson Rosen, Jen Schwarting, Mark Starling, J.R. Uretsky.

Hyper Democratic Landscapes is a 3-channel video installation of constantly changing, surreal landscape imagery. Politzer culled the images from Flickr using targeted searches for specific tags plus the word "landscape." For the Artspace Project Room installation, each channel is divided thematically based on those tags. The left channel is comprised of searches for "harsh," "rugged" or "barren," the middle channel "tallest," "biggest" and "highest," and the right channel "sublime," "heavenly" and "inspiring."

Politzer (ab)uses the HDR (High Dynamic Range) function in Photoshop to create composite images from several of the appropriated Flickr images, which he selects at random. Typically the HDR function is used to combine several images of the same scene taken from the same vantage point to make an enhanced, single photograph with an extremely wide tonal range. Rather, he creates a hybrid of 3-5 images of different scenes. The results are psychedelic compositions of saturated color that have multiple horizon lines and light sources. The status of each image changes from an authentic index to a fabricated digital artifact.

David Politzer: "Hyper Democratic Landscapes Video Still 7"

By misusing software, Politzer pushes the images beyond their intentions for realism, nostalgia, memory. These over-worked, conglomerate mashups resist the preciousness of an individual image, but create a new sense of romance for a fantastical place. The project also negotiates the impossibility of there being a simple one to one relationship between an image (sign) and a word (signifier). This realization suggests that imperfect fitting, choice and multiplicity are at the heart of what makes possible the notion of democracy.

For their debut at Artspace, Politzer has decided to install the videos above eye-level to suggest their position as stained glass windows inside of a cathedral. Their position up high in a darkened room encourages the viewer to enter more slowly, wait for his/her eyes to adjust to the light, and be open to the calm. The atypical shape of the rounded screens adds to their feeling as historic architectural elements or objects—emulating the frames of turn of the century illustrations, photographs and stereograms.

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