Surface Connections: Technological Change Meets Artistic Practice at Hus Gallery
Interfaces are all about surfaces and interactions: the point where two things meet. The crossing of influence from one form to another—digital to analog, technology to painting—propels Hus Gallery’s current group show. “Human Interface” unites artists whose practices produce physical objects through techniques that reference developments in both historical and contemporary technologies. Works range from sculpture derived from cultural iconography and online filtering to the lo-fi aesthetics of Xerox photocopying.
It is a little-known anecdote that early photographer Ernst Moiré may have mistakenly invented the eponymous moiré effect, which occured when the dots that constitute the image were misaligned during the printing process (Moiré also blinded his wife during the course of his experiments!). Johnny Abrahams purposefully paints moiré patterns—two sets of parallel lines superimposed with one set slanted at an angle to the other—in acrylic on canvas. The labor-intensive results are fine, satiny images, whose surfaces seem to vibrate. Abrahams is interested in the way in which the illusion of movement within a still painting shakes the certainty of the viewer’s perception, in how the eye interacts with visual elements to send feedback to the mind.
Ben Wolf Noam’s painting is influenced by effects that can be achieved through modern software tools, like the Photoshop gradient—the software’s ability to create a “gradual blend between multiple colors.” His technique of “pigment dispersion” advances traditional painting styles in vibrantly layered canvases.
The layers of the photographic process interest Garrett Pruter, whose complex practice involves photographing phosphorescent paint in colors from the palette of Microsoft Windows’ rolling green hills desktop. He develops the photograph, then scrapes and grinds its pigment into a new shade, before re-photographing this new color, and repeating the cycle again. In this way, Pruter tracks the gradient and breakdown of the initial color to create a “photographic emulsion” which is placed in scattered compositions. His tongue-in-cheek “Screensaver” titles refer to those stock images our machines present to us, though Pruter’s paintings surpass genericism: each pattern, like his process, is singular.
“Human Interface” is on view at Hus Gallery, London, Oct. 15—Nov. 10, 2014.