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Quest for Permanence

May 19 - June 23, 2016

Quest for Permanence examines our play with time in its many forms and the tensions that arise as time and place collide. The artifacts we leave behind give the illusion of permanence to ourselves as well those that come after us. This exhibition brings together local, national and international artists employing visual art, digital media and performance, offering a range of interpretations of this universal issue.

Wasmer Gallery - Co-curated by Barry Cavin, John Loscuito and Michael Salmond - Sponsored by Gene and Lee Seidler, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, and WGCU Public Media

Quest for Permanence graphic

Kent Anderson Butler, “Bathe” (still, 2:20), 2015, Video

Reminiscent of quests for extending life, such as the search for the Fountain of Youth and the science of cryogenics, this exhibition features seven artists documenting and reflecting on the complexity of time and place. Quest for Permanence features a wide range of materials and approaches to making art. Performance, installation, design, photography and more show a few of the varied methods that we as artists and humans use to preserve our individuality.

The traces left behind from our lives suggest the illusion of permanence as we struggle against our finite existence. We assure ourselves that it is for others that we leave these traces, but the truth, of course, is that we want to live forever.

Artifacts, made from more durable materials such as stone, bronze, frescos and other forms of art and architecture serve as reminders of those who have come before us. As we have moved into the digital age the action of documenting our lives has become ubiquitous. The works in this exhibition show seven unique perspectives on the human condition using a wide range of materials and techniques. From the spiritual to the mundane, the familial to the mythic, these artists reveal our absurdities and our grand desires.

 

An Attempt at Recreating Utopia and Cyane Tornatzky

Cyane Tornatzky, “An Attempt at Recreating Utopia Through Mechanical Means #1,” 2014,  Inkjet print of 3D file, collage, 32 x 26", Courtesy of the artist

 

 

Cyane Tornatzky, (American, b. 1965)

In An Attempt at Recreating Utopia Through Mechanical Means: Babylon One and Two(2014), Tornatzky used a 3D modeling program in an attempt to “draw” utopian structures - in this case, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. In attempting to mediate/contemplate/honor/invoke this wonderland, she opens up a conversation about what it is we want from our dreams of a better world. For A Performative Action: Building a Utopia (2015), she took stills from a 10 hour video wherein she repeated the actions of a millworker from New Lanark’s period of utopian socialism. She used these images in the zoetrope to underscore the cyclical nature of societal approaches to utopias.

Cyane Tornatsky is an Associate Professor of Art and Electronic Art Coordinator at Colorado State University. She holds a M.F.A. in Conceptual and Information Arts from San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA and a M.A. in Education, San Francisco State University and a BA in Philosophy from College of Wooster, Wooster, OH.

 Cyane Tornatzky, “An Attempt at Recreating Utopia Through Mechanical Means #1,” 2014,  Inkjet print of 3D file, collage, 32 x 26", Courtesy of the artist

 

Tracing Ghosts by Ghostbird Theatre

Ghostbird Theatre, “Tracing Ghosts,” 2014,  Image still, Courtesy of the artist

 

 

Ghostbird Theatre, (founded May 2012)

Courtright produced work for this exhibition about beauty and finding a path that is a seed for a better future. His images from a scrap yard are initially a look at waste, but under the surface of the subject lies a sustainable practice of repurposing and reusing these materials. Batteries and LEDs are integrated into a circuitry established by Courtright’s use of a conductive paint in his silkscreening process thus representing a reclamation of energy through a reuse of discarded materials. The LEDs provide evidence of the electricity flowing through the print. Ever moving electricity is provided as a symbol of a continually changing culture as well as his hope that we can bring about positive change in our environmental practices.  He considers the work in this series to be kinetic art on a molecular level.

Courtright is the Studio Technician for the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s Residency Program in Captiva, FL. In his capacity there, he is able to explore process and materials as he assists internationally recognized artists in their own endeavors.

 

Deeper than Sorrow by Leila Masdaghi

Leila Mesdaghi, “Deeper Than Sorrow,” 2015-2016, Mixed media installation, Courtesy of the artist

 

 

Leila Mesdaghi, (Iranian American, b. 1977)

In Deeper Than Sorrow, Mesdaghi enters an empty pool that has silently been sitting in her father’s garden in Tehran, Iran for the past forty years. By writing on the cracked and faded walls of the pool, she begins a dialog between memory and perception, alluding to a universal longing. Her marks behave as an instrument to recuperate from the pain of separation. She leaves behind traces of her presence there, as she returns to her home in Fort Myers, Florida. Her marks fade away as time goes by, but the memory of her presence will always remain. By merging performance and video, she has been exploring the space between presence and absence.

Leila Mesdaghi is a multi-media artist and she holds a BA in Art from Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL and a BA in Law from Tehran Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

 

 

Silhouette de la Garonne by Chad Jensen

Chad Jensen, “Silhouette de la Garonne,” 2014, Exterior: Gold Mirror Polished Stainless Steel Interior: Mirror Polished Aluminum, 37 x 72 x 15 1/4”,  Courtesy of Thomas Riley Studio

Chad Jensen, (American, b. 1977)

In Deeper Than Sorrow, Mesdaghi enters an empty pool that has silently been sitting in her father’s garden in Tehran, Iran for the past forty years. By writing on the cracked and faded walls of the pool, she begins a dialog between memory and perception, alluding to a universal longing. Her marks behave as an instrument to recuperate from the pain of separation. She leaves behind traces of her presence there, as she returns to her home in Fort Myers, Florida. Her marks fade away as time goes by, but the memory of her presence will always remain. By merging performance and video, she has been exploring the space between presence and absence.

Leila Mesdaghi is a multi-media artist and she holds a BA in Art from Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL and a BA in Law from Tehran Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

 

 

Tracing You by Benjamin Grosser

Benjamin Grosser, “Tracing You” (still), 2015, Computational surveillance system, Courtesy of the artist

Chad Jensen, (American, b. 1977)

Tracing You presents a website’s best attempt to see the world from its visitors’ viewpoints. By cross referencing visitor IP addresses with available online data sources, the system traces each visitor back through the network to their possible origin. The end of that trace is the closest available image that potentially shows the visitor’s physical environment. Sometimes what this image shows is eerily accurate; other times it is wildly dislocated. What can a computational system know of our environment based on the traces we leave behind? Why might it want to see where we are? How accurate are the system’s data sources and when might they improve? Finally, what does this site’s attempt to trace its visitors reveal about who (or what) is reading the web?

Benjamin Grosser is an assistant professor in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He holds an MFA in new media and an MM in music composition (both from UIUC).

 

Thousand Little Brothers v4 by Hasan Elahi

Hasan Elahi, “Thousand Little Brothers v4” (detail), 2015,  Pigment print, 120 x 161”, Courtesy of the artist

Hasan Elahi, (American, b. 1972)

After an erroneous tip linking the artist to terrorist activities led to a six-month-long FBI investigation, Hasan Elahi began to voluntarily monitor himself by photographing mundane details from his daily life and sending these images — hundreds of them each week for over a dozen years — to the FBI. Thousand Little Brothers v4 is a detail from a composite image made up of approximately 32,000 images from that ongoing project. The colored panels refer to SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) color bars. This television test pattern has been used in the United States for Emergency Broadcast System tests, during which regular programming would be disrupted and this pattern would appear. 

Hasan Elahi is an Associate Professor of Art at University of Maryland and from 2011 to 2014 was Director of Design | Cultures + Creativity in the Honors College. He was a 2010 Alpert/MacDowell Fellow and in 2009, he was Resident Faculty and Nancy G. MacGrath Endowed Chair at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

 

Bathe by Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson Butler, “Bathe” (still, 2:20), 2015, Video, Courtesy of the artist

Kent anderson, (American, b. 1971)

Sacred Encounters, a series of four videos, is based on the relationship between sacred space, landscape/environment and the body. The soul is a seedbed for ideas, concepts and revelations. The religious philosopher Teilhard de Chardin once wrote, "Instead of regarding ourselves as human beings struggling to have some kind of spiritual experience, perhaps, we would consider the possibility that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. And the human experience, as we know, for better or worse, is lived in the body." 

Kent Anderson Butler is the Director of Visual Art & Professor in the Department of Art & Design at Azusa Pacific University. He holds a M.F.A. in Creative Photography Emphasis from California State University, Fullerton, CA and a B.S. Art in Video and Film from Biola University, La Mirada, CA.