Technology has become tangible and also invisible. Mobile phones, tablets, the cloud and other digital systems envelop us as closed off black box systems responsible for exchange and transfer. The Shadow of the Real presents artworks which make the manner and method of creation central and simultaneously secondary to the concept or evocation of the artist. Each has developed a signature style that eclipses a mere visual trope to be at the very core of their creative process.
Bridget Riley (b 1931 West Norwood, England), Wade Guyton (b 1972 Indiana, USA) and Avery Singer (b 1987 New York, US) employ disparate systems tasked with removing their own hand from the production of the work, allowing a layer of mechanical reproduction that they simultaneously interrupt and author. As with the technology we navigate daily, these processes can be seen as central and all important in the understanding of their art, or can be ignored as only a means to an end, and the paintings engaged with as finished goods; method not important.
Since 1961 Riley’s large format paintings have been completed by assistants based on her meticulous research and experimentation on a smaller format with gouache and collage. The final paintings are imbued with a clinical nearly scientific industrial perfection, while also carrying in them evocation of her travels, studies and experiences. Comparable paintings are included in major international museum collections, including Tate (London), The Pompidou Centre (Paris), and the DIA Foundation (Beacon, New York).
Wade Guyton’s practice begins with a source file, initially a small group of repeating motifs; a purely digital file known as bigblack.tiff, a scan of a book cover, another’s binding, and most iconically an X borrowed from the Blair ITC font. More recently this practice has left the insular spaces of the purely digital and the real but abstracted to move into the narrow confines of the artist’s studio and eventually out into his own worldly explorations. Through views of his studio’s entrance door and eventually, through his windows, to the city of Manhattan and the catacombs and lunch tables of Naples the artist has begun to grapple with history painting and the known. In the works presented here the artist’s wrestling with his medium, a large format industrial printer and fine canvas, are brought to bear on early scanned images as well as his studio floor, marked both by intentional improvements and repetitive use. The artist is widely collected both in America and Internationally with major works included in the collection of the Whitney Museum (New York), Museum Ludwig (Cologne), and Moderna Museet (Stockholm).
In contrast to Guyton and Riley, who both distance themselves from the application of media to canvas by employing a mechanical filter, Avery Singer wields her own spray gun – but follows tightly prescribed and hand taped guides that originate from 3-d rendering programs. These computer conjured formations of her chosen subjects exist in a strange place between the digitally perfect and the crudely rendered. The paintings are more overtly political than the other artists exhibited, dealing with religion, commerce and desire with a certain black humor. The artist has exhibited widely in Europe and America and is broadly internationally collected.