Jane Lombard Gallery presents a two-person booth by artists James Clar and Kristin McIver at UNTITLED, San Francisco 2018. At a moment in history when data flow and reach of communication networks are easier to recognize than they are to understand, Clar and McIver break down processes and phenomena into ones of physicality, spatiality, mechanisms, color and prose. They operate within a Post-Internet umbrella, using the physical and sociological output of technology as the basis of their work. Translating the complex structure of coding, metrics and synthetic systems into visual abstractions, revealing the uncanny playfulness found in deploying digital strategies to intersect familiarity, perception and reality.
James Clar toggles between the virtual and the real by searching for distinctions among simulations and hidden occurrences, illustrating moments in technology’s mission to make artificiality more friendly, useful, integral and organic. Ideas are stripped down to conceptual and physical building blocks apparent in the structural minimalism, careful use of light and ubiquitous objects. In Simulation of a Simulation (San Francisco), animation is brought back to real-life physics by automating a snow globe and digitally displaying its motorization. Liquid Viscosity manifests a chemical reaction, using color and geometry to represent the temperature and state of liquid substances. Binary Star is a poetic counterpart by representing matter’s relationship to light through the shadows created by two traversing planetary bodies. Technology is taken as the subject and the medium, unpacking its presence in popular culture however rendered into the realm of contemporary art.
Kristin McIver parallels Clar’s concern with mechanics and observation by examining the vocabulary and data analysis used by and employed on the web. McIver proposes that ideologies presented by new communication – images, text messaging and branding – powered by advancing dissemination methods and driven by market forces, become referents for new models of personal and global identity. The Data Portraits are part of McIver’s Selfie Project, which examines the autobiographical nature of images and their use in biometric surveillance (facial recognition technology) on social media networks. The paintings interpret faceprint data into unique pixel portraits of individuals who have experienced a certain level of fame. They appropriate both the scale and color palette of Andy Warhol’s 1964 Marilyn series, referencing Warhol’s deification of the celebrities and his expression: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes," reinterpreted for the digital age as “everyone will be famous to 1500 followers.” Expanding on these works are the Typecast Series, highlighting the uniformity of self-representation and composition of the selfies and online personas that the Data Portraits take their form from.
Clar & McIver both maneuver the utility of neon as a mid 20th-century advertising medium compounded with the status of aesthetic objects within 21st-century media’s distribution systems. By transcribing the familiarity of these instruments and channels into objects that exist in the real world (IRL), they outline today’s emotional reliability to light and technology apparent in the prevalence of installation, light and web art across image-based social platforms. There is a new arena of human/viewer connection to optic experiences – difficult to discern its thorough impact on society – it does not depict the physical body or a particular genre of history or state of living, however it delineates the increasing modification of human information, reality and selfhood.
James Clar (b. Wisconsin, 1979) lives and works in New York, NY. Clar received his BA in film and 3D animation and his MA in Media Art, the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) from the Tisch School, New York University. His work has been exhibited at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJ; Pera Art Museum, Istanbul, Turkey; Can Framis Museum, Barcelona; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea; Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, FL; Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, UAE; MoMA PS1, New York, NY; Parasol unit, London, UK; The New Museum, New York, NY; Somerset House, London, UK; Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem and Shadai Gallery at Tokyo Polytechnic University, Tokyo, Japan. Clar has been an artist in residence at Eyebeam Atelier in New York, NY; Fabrica, Treviso, Italy, and the FedEx Institute of Technology/Lantana Projects, Memphis, TN.
Kristin McIver (b. Melbourne, Australia, 1974) Lives and works in New York, NY. McIver received her MA from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been exhibited at National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Omi International Art Center, Ghent, NY; Latrobe University Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia; ZAZ 10 Times Square, New York, NY; Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney, Australia; 2015 Vancouver Biennale; James Makin Gallery, Collingwood, Australia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan; Galeri Soemardja, Jawa Barat, Indonesia and POSCO Art Gallery, Seoul, South Korea. McIver was awarded the Melbourne Sculpture Prize in 2012.