Since the fall of 2010, Culturehall has published seasonal Feature Issues highlighting artists from around the world. Our most recent open call for applications brought submissions from artists working in various media and disciplines. Juried by the two of us, David Andrew Frey and Tema Stauffer, we continue to be impressed and excited by the remarkable talent and range of our applicants.
We congratulate our new members: Bang Geul Han, Ross Sawyers, Garrick Imatani, and Zachary Dean Norman.
From a background in painting and performance, Bang Geul Han became intrigued by the nascent elements of communication provided by digital technologies. Han's interest lay not just at the developmental awkwardness of these environments, but with their innate malleability towards unintended ends. Her recent work Conversation appears initially as a video portraying a series of thoughts shared between a man and a woman. Their fractured but rhythmic dialogue presents a seemingly endless collage. Unknown to the audience, each interaction is being created just moments before its display. Using custom software developed by Han, a computer in the gallery selectively gathers real-time postings from Twitter. Her software then assembles the tweet as a spoken sentence by gathering a video clip of each word being recited from a stored video library. Often absurd, each of these communications becomes the machine's best attempt to re-humanize a disembodied thought.
The interior spaces captured by Ross Sawyers present us with truths that ultimately require questioning of their authenticity. Each of these images, which originally appeared as documentation of unusual domestic environments, reveal themselves on closer inspection to be constructions, which were made for the camera. Roughly tracing the arc of the U.S. housing market since the late-2000s crash, the series begins with depictions of vacant new, generically desirable, but ultimately odd spaces that are either skewed through poor design or proximity to neighboring dwellings. As the series progresses, circumstances deteriorate — with each for a time depicting an incomplete, possibly vandalized, and most likely abandoned space. Haunting and quiet, these images offer a voyeuristic domain to contemplate emptiness, honesty, and failure.
Stemming from research on American history and rituals, the work of Portland, Oregon-based artist Garrick Imatani comprises mixed media documents, installations, and collaborative public events. His investigation into narratives about the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1868 led to to collaborating with U.S. National Park Rangers and local volunteers at the Golden Spike National Monument in Promontory, Utah to reenact this event. Imatani performs an anonymous worker driving the last spike into the railroad, paying homage to Chinese laborers whose efforts in building the railroad are overlooked by historical accounts. The photographs of his performance are transformed through alternative image-transfer and printing-making techniques to produce graphite documents that resemble archival photographs of the era, pointing to the fact that these records were often similarly fabricated. Imatani's fascination lies in blurring distinctions between performance, nostalgic rituals, and historic event.
Chirality refers to the characteristic of a molecule that makes it impossible to superimpose it on its mirror image. The word "chiral" is derived from the Greek word for hand, as our hands are mirror images of one another that cannot be superimposed. Zachary Dean Norman references this concept in his Untitled (Study of Chirality), revisiting modernist strategies and experimenting with form, color, and simultaneous contrast in photographic space. Similar to Josef Alber's studies of color interaction, Norman's images explore our relative perception of color through the effects of inverting colors or shifting shapes in pairs of virtually identical images. What makes his constructions visually compelling is the refined delicacy of his use of colored paper and light. By positioning mirrors to reflect flat fields color, Norman creates enigmatic color spaces that appear three-dimensional and luminous.