Panel: Emerging Art Practices
Recent critiques of electronic 2D art have proclaim the irrelevance of the still image. Yet, for a culture submerged in a ceaseless flow of images, a single image capturing a significant moment or idea can have great resonance. In an age of mass media, as images seek an audience, the still image trapped within the white walls of the art gallery can be released to seek its wider audience. This contextualization of the still image, and its liberation from the gallery is developed via models of the wall poster, billboard, broadside and public art commission.
In this presentation, I want to propose a recontextualization of 2D digital art, and open the question of how digital still images can be removed from the confines of easel painting and taken out into the streets to seek a wider audience.
It’s a common place of critiques of 2D digital art, that 2D images are irrelevant. What’s usually implied in this analysisis, that interactive or moving images represent the new ground, and still images – regardless of content or intent – do not. This view was reiterated at a recent SIGGRAPH panel, ‘Museum Without Wa lls’, in which the moderator, after giving a capsule review of visual imagery and spatial engagement beginning with the cave paintings, ended with an image by a famous artist which he referred to as “still just a painting”. It ’s come to the point that some interactive and multi media artists don’t even want their work hung next to 2D art, and there’s also always the struggle over the lights -on or lights-off installation. This is a narrow and dismissive perspective and one, which is weakened by the lack o f a substantial critique of interactive and med ia art. Yet it is true that the time is long past for very disparate work to be shown together simply because it’s all 2D and digital. There are too many divergent approaches and processes. The result does often appear chaotic and unformed. The common origins of digital art are not enough of a factor to mitigate significant differences of context and content. Work seen under these conditions represents neither the individual artists nor the domain of 2D art very well. So what’s a 2D artist to do? For those of us who respond to still images, there are some possible directions. Looking at the work itself (as opposed to the curatorial issues of
theme shows or exhibition installation), several approaches emerge: to extend still images into an environmental context through wall art, sited pieces and public commissions; to use the “publishing metaphor” of broadsides and artists books; and to develop a more “active” still image through group collaborations and instalIation. I’d like to focus primarily on the first of these approaches, that of extending still images into the environment.
- Annette Weintraub is a visual artist whose work examines the architectural environment. She is Professor of Art at The City College of New York CUNY, and directs the Robinson Center for Graphic Arts and Communication Design.
Full text p.317-318