Robert Koch Gallery is pleased to present Web on the Wall. This exhibition presents a wide array of aesthetic points of view by artists who source images from the internet. The digital era provides artists with vast visual repositories such as Google, Flickr, eBay, Youtube, and Craigslist. The artists featured in this exhibition express their distinct creative perspectives while exploring how selection and context are transformative to their internet accessed images.
For his two series Prison Map and Empire.io, Josh Begley wrote a software program that captured from the web extremely high-resolution images of 4,916 prison facilities and close to 625 military bases. Begley’s satellite views are at once painterly and abstract while dense with photographic information. Begley’s work stimulates discussion and exposes our prison and military systems, entities that are largely visually hidden.
At first glance Douglas Coupland‘s Bogey Man portraits and Drone Attack appear to be abstract, Op Art paintings. These pieces question our desire to see or not see portraits of Osama bin Laden and vehicles of war. Viewed through the technology of our cell phones, Bogey Man becomes a bit more distinctly Osama bin Laden and the drones more recognizable. Coupland’s use of numerous googly eyes in these works are at once playful and also symbolic of the pervasive surveillance in our society. Well-known as an author of several novels including Generation X, Coupland currently has a major survey of his visual work on exhibit at the Vancouver Gallery of Art.
Doug Rickard‘s series A New American Picture presents fresh possibilities for street photography that is created without leaving the studio. Capturing images from Google Street Views of several different cities and states, Rickard offers a penetrating view of indigence in the United States. Rickard’s low-resolution images are imbued with a surreal dreamlike undercurrent that emphasizes the psychological component of his imagery.
Berlin based artist Joachim Schmid‘s Zwolf Frauen is comprised of a series of portraits of twelve women who all have received the Nobel Prize for literature. This body of work was inspired in response to Gerhard Richter’s 48 Portraits which only included men. Schmid examines the phenomenon of recognizability of famous people by pixalating the portraits so that only a minimum of visual information remains, yet the women are recognizable.
Conceptual artist Penelope Umbrico‘s appropriated imagery work draws from a variety of web sources including Flickr, eBay, and Craigslist. Umbrico’s brightly hued geometric abstractions of her series Broken Sets were cropped from images culled from eBay posted by sellers of broken, powered on LCD television sets. The resulting abstractions are visual intersections of modernist formalism and commentary on the failure of technology
Michael Wolf‘s internet appropriations explore concepts of public and private space, anonymity and individuality, history and the contemporary human condition. Eschewing classic views of Paris, Wolf photographed the city through explorations using Google’s Street Views. By incorporating in his images, the Google interface arrows and geometric shapes, Michael moves the Paris of past centuries into the 21st century. Working much like a street photographer, Wolf maneuvered through Google Street views, selecting his vantage points, cropping, and enlarging the images, to create new works that capture the grittiness and psyche of modern day urban life.