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'DATAStream' exhibition features art at the intersection of creativity, art, and technology

February 8, 2016

Painting called "Heart of Palm"
Philip Argent’s “Heart of Palm” (2008) is featured in the exhibition “DATAStream.” Courtesy of the artist and Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica, California, the painting is acrylic on canvas, 33 x 44 inches.

The evolution of digital technologies and its influence on creativity is the driving force behind “DATAStream,” the newest suite of exhibitions presented by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech featuring works by four artists who respond to and incorporate technology as a medium for expression.

The exhibition features a significant body of art by artists whose work comes out of the digital landscape of the 21st century. The featured artists, in the order of their show openings, are:

John F. Simon Jr.
Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor, Feb. 8-April 17; Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery, Feb. 18-April 17
Simon, a leading computer code artist, is represented by seven mesmerizing abstract works of art presented on computer monitors, LCD screens, and projected on the gallery wall. Simon writes his own code for these complex, time-based compositions in which rhythm, pattern, form, and color are programmed in an endless spectrum of combinations that never repeat. The computing in these works generates imagery in real time, continually creating, recreating, reproducing, and mutating so that the imagery evolves continuously. These are kinetic works, with a remarkable range of compositional variation and millions of color combinations that result not only in fascinating visual experiences, but in a complete reconfiguration of what painting can be in the 21st century.
Simon’s work is in the collections of many prominent museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Simon lives and works in in New York City.

Quayola
Cube, featured for 10 days only, Feb. 18-28
Quayola applies digital technologies to icons of classical art and architecture. Paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck, Diego Velasquez, and rarely accessed masterpieces in the Vatican have served as source materials for him. His work featured for this exhibition is “Strata #1.” Created in 2008, it is part of a series the artist undertook as a personal exploration of Roman baroque churches. Suspended from the ceiling this spectacular multi-channel audio-visual installation is based on the ceiling of the famous Roman church Chiesa del Gesù. Using software, computational functions, and algorithms, the artist explores, deconstructs, and recontextualizes the imagery, merging and colliding classical figuration with contemporary abstraction, tradition with innovation, and the old with the new.
Quayola’s work has been exhibited around the world, including exhibitions at museums in Korea, Japan, Russia, Austria, England, New York, Brazil, and Switzerland, among many others. He has also participated in numerous new media festivals, including Sonar in Barcelona, and Elekra in Montreal. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Golden Nica at Ars Electronica.

Casey Reas
Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery, Feb. 18-April 17
In 2001 Reas and Benjamin Fry initiated Processing, an open source programming language and environment for the visual arts.  Reas’ focus on processing systems of generative imagery has taken the form of drawings, prints, sculpture, and installations. In his more recent work, including pieces on view in this exhibition, Reas retrieves material culled from television and online sources, editing, fracturing, and overlaying existing images and narratives into dense, energized, generative collages on LCD flat-screens.
“KTTV (August 2015)” is sourced from edited signals captured from television station KTTV’sprime time programs. The “AYFABTU (Followers)” series are aggregate portraits of altered social media profile images of people who follow the artist’s Twitter account. The work titled “https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=adventuretime”is sourced from an online search of the television show, “Adventure Time,” with the data reconfigured into an alternate, pulsating visual space.
Reas’ work has been featured in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Art Institute of Chicago. His work is in a range of collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Victoria and Albert Museum. He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

Philip Argent
Ruth C. Horton Gallery, Feb. 25-May 7
This exhibition includes 12 of Argent’s paintings created between 2008 and 2015. Argent composes and generates imagery for his paintings digitally, then renders it by hand with acrylic on canvas. With their intense, supersaturated colors, ranging from vivid oranges and deep purples to aqua blues and greens that glow like computer components, Argent’s paintings hint at the digital culture of the world. Shimmering planes of shifting masses seem to float across the picture plane, as if seen from aerial perspectives. At the same time, spatial and optical effects in these works simulate microchips or cellular specimens viewed under a microscope. In either case, these paintings convey shifting realities of multiple planes, layered information, and data.
Argent’s work has been exhibited in national and international group and solo exhibitions in the United States, Germany, and Korea. He currently teaches in the department of art at University of California, Santa Barbara. Argent lives and works in Goleta, California.
Also featured is a new public art installation commissioned by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. “High Wire” (2016) by artist Diana Cooper will traverse across 116 feet of the Moss Arts Center Grand Lobby walls with imagery inspired by the intersection of creativity, art, and technology.

The mural will be installed beginning Feb. 10, and on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. the artist will present an informal talk about the process and evolution of the work as it goes up on the wall. The program will be introduced by Ruth Waalkes, associate provost for the arts at Virginia Tech and executive director of the center for the arts.

The exhibitions are curated by Margo Ann Crutchfield, curator at large, Center for the Arts.

The center’s galleries’ regular hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The mural can be viewed in the Moss Arts Center Grand Lobby during regular building hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The galleries and all related events are free and open to the public.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email kmcallis@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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