“Hi Rez/Lo Rez” explores the use of new technologies to make art, juxtaposing new and traditional processes of art making. Curated by BFA Fine Arts Chair Suzanne Anker, the exhibition is on view through Saturday, October 17 at the SVA Flatiron Gallery and features the work of students in the department, who collaborated, via digital exchange, with the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic to create the works on display.
One first encounters a street-facing wall of reimagined portraits in the series Presidents by BFA Fine Arts student Jean Cesar Villalon. Vivid reds, blues and greens swim around a stern-looking portrait of George Washington. Printed next to the portrait of Washington is his famous quote: “If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” Villalon uses color effectively to signpost important shifts in America’s political history. A sinister-looking Abraham Lincoln appears in a canvas dominated by the same green on dollar bills; Barack Obama is imagined sporting a psychedelic mohawk.
While Villalon uses color conceptually, his peer Domenica Battaglia emphasizes texture in the two-dimensional medium of photography. Battaglia’s work titled Self Portrait is a photograph of two figs on a plate—one intact and the other cut open to expose its juicy fleshiness. The restrained palette further accentuates the moistness of the cut fig. The compelling visual creates new narratives when considered in relation to the title: the artist as embodying the qualities of the fig and the artist as embodied in her artistic expression, which is the photograph.
Many of the BFA Fine Arts students participating in “Hi Rez/Lo Rez” chose to use living organisms to make their artworks, one of the benefits of having access to the Bio Art Lab at SVA. Amanda Wu, for instance, used Ecoli bacteria and agar to create digital prints titled “The Depth of Light,” and Tori Deetz provided an African Red Trapdoor spider with cloth and threads to create an artwork, which is also the spider’s home.
For more info and the full list of participating artists, click here.