November 21, 2013–May 31, 2014
Opening Reception: November 21, 6pm–9pm
Artist Talk: November 21, 8pm with Ian McMahon
The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image that is distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution…
--Hito Steyerl, In Defense of the Poor Image
For Lossy, curator Stephanie Syjuco brings together six former Bemis Center Artists-in-Residence who explore the murky territory of physicality in an era of mediated representation. Their sculptural and image-based surrogates call into question the notion of ‘presence’ and use their unfaithfulness as a way to reorganize meaning and symbolism in the world around them.
Traditionally used to refer to the degradation of an image when compressed as a digital JPG file, “lossy” is a state in which digital information is discarded for the sake of file size. Resolution is lost, detail is changed and fineness is compromised. In this process, however, extra pixels may also be added, ultimately transforming and re-authoring the resulting Doppelgänger image.
The artists in Lossy toggle between recognizable forms and fictional imagery, referencing craft, material culture, virtual space and charged political sites. By flipping the “loss” of original resolution from being a negative condition into a potentially generative one, this exhibition scrutinizes how active transformation occurs when switching an image into an object, the virtual into the real, the original into the cast copy and the invisible into the tangible. Perhaps this new, degraded “un-original” has much more to say by way of introducing poetic narrative, speculative fiction and alternative readings than its static predecessor ever did.
About the Artists:
Damien Gilley (Portland, OR) utilizes large-format wall drawings, sculpture and installation to radically de-center a viewer's relationship to architectural space. With references to the early digital visuals of science fiction movies, blueprints and forced perspectival drawings, his urban landscapes explore hidden structures using surprisingly analog techniques. In shifting the viewer's perspective and exploding flat surfaces by means of elegant outlines, the works present a slippery territory of collapsing real space with virtual space. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at Tetem Kunstruimte (Enschede, Netherlands), EastWestProject (Berlin), Suyama Space (Seattle), Las Vegas Art Museum, Arthouse (Austin) and in Portland at Rocksbox, The American Institute of Architects, Linfield College and the Portland Biennial, among others.
Jeremy Hatch (Boseman, MT) creates cast porcelain objects that are physical shadows of “real' ordinary objects such as benches, stools, play structures and pulleys. Occupying both social and solitary spaces, these ghost-like sculptures sit at mute attention, implying the use of bodies and pointing to the crafted labor of their fabrication. These secondary monuments and souvenirs act as mnemonic devices, triggering feelings of absence and longing as we wait for their impossible functionality. In 2008, he founded Ricochet Studio as a means to explore the intersections between craft, art and design. He regularly exhibits nationally and internationally, with residencies at the Takumi Studio in Japan, the European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands and Kohler's Arts/Industry program, among others. He is an Assistant Professor in Ceramics at Montana State University, Bozeman
Ashley Lyon (Hornell, NY) photographs hand-built clay sculptures that are then displayed as photographic documents, creating images meant to be stand-ins for charged psychological fragments of human bodies. She meticulously hand fabricates all the components of her work, addressing multiple levels of realism in an attempt to transcend the genre of traditional figuration. These uncanny likenesses are modeled from a composite of "real" sitters, online images and fictional bodies, becoming body-objects that belong to everyone and no one. Lyon has exhibited at the Dowd Gallery SUNY (NY); Pierogi Gallery (Brooklyn); European Ceramics Work Center (the Netherlands); Alfred University (NY); Edinboro University (PA); and Galeria NoMINIMO (Ecuador) among others. She is a currently a Turner Teaching Fellow at Alfred University, NY and is a co-founder of Belfry Gallery, an experimental space in Hornell, NY.
Ian McMahon (Hornell, NY) creates large-scale, physically demanding sculptures that challenge the permanence of place through performative and materially focused constructions. His site-specific structures evoke everything from theatrical sets to life-size props, creating frictions between material process and existing architecture. What appear to be solid, structural works belie their fragility and impermanence. A recipient of a prestigious Javits Fellowship, McMahon has exhibited at Pierogi Gallery (Brooklyn); the Cohen Center for the Arts (NY); the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute (China) and G-Fine Arts Gallery (Washington, DC). He is a co-founder of Belfry Gallery, an experimental space in Hornell, NY.
Alice Miceli (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) creates installations and alternative photographic documents on extreme, often socio-political issues. Her research-based projects have taken her from the infamous Tuol Sleng prisons in Cambodia to the radioactive sites of Chernobyl, reckoning with the fraught subjects of embedded histories, unseen forces and human mortality. With an interest in challenging notions of traditional journalism and documentary photography, she seeks to reframe physical sites, creating a poetics of the 'unportrayable.' She has exhibited in numerous international venues, including Max Protech Gallery (NYC); the Sao Paolo Biennial; TRANSITIO_MX festival (Mexico City); transmediale.09 festival (Berlin); the Bahia Museum of Modern Art (Brazil); the Sydney Film Festival (Australia); Z33 Contemporary Art Space (Belgium) and Images Festival (Toronto), among others.
Jeremy Olson (Brooklyn, NY) collapses together the sensibility of slick, glossy fashion imagery with a mutant genre of still-life painting to produce visceral, contradictory compositions in painting, video and sculpture. From fractured faces to startling juxtapositions of objects within maze-like interior spaces, his work skims beyond the conventions of collage, depicting alternative realities and dystopic dreamscapes. Like its own genre of science fiction, it presents to the viewer potentially irreconcilable logic structures embedded within a disruptive imagery of desire. Olson has exhibited at Peres Projects (Berlin); Nellie Castan Gallery (Melbourne); the Monty (Antwerp); St. Cecilia's (Brooklyn) and the 2010 KEAF International Experimental Film Festival at Seoul Art Space (South Korea).
About the Curator:
Stephanie Syjuco (San Francisco, CA) is a visual artist and educator who utilizes physical surrogates, counterfeits and digital networks to address the political and social implications of economies and labor in an era of late capitalism. She has participated in numerous exhibitions including at: MOMA/P.S.1 (NY); the Whitney Museum of American Art (Manhattan); SFMoMA (San Francisco); Frieze Projects (London), ZKM Center for Art and Technology (Germany); Z33 Space for Contemporary Art (Belgium); Universal Studios Gallery (Beijing) and Garanti Gallery (Istanbul), among others. She is an Assistant Professor in Sculpture at UC Berkeley.
Presenting Sponsor: Omaha Steaks
Sponsors: Brand Metal Works, Clark Creative Group, Council Bluffs Recycling Center, Davis Erection and Crane Rental & Rigging, Echo Systems, Education Power | Robert Webber, Larry Gawel Photography, Chris Headley / OmahaComputerHelp.com, Min | Day, Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Nebraska Department of Roads, Rybin Plumbing & Heating, Laura and Gregory Schnackel, Sherwin Williams, Mike Sinclair, Upstream Brewing Company, Visions Custom Framing, Warren Distribution