Go, man, go
speed examines life in the fast lane
The quiet and fairly remote campus of Georgia Perimeter College would seem a most unlikely setting for an exhibition titled speed. life in an accelerated culture. In fact, since velocity has become a global preoccupation, it's easy to imagine local critic/curator Jerry Cullum and Atlanta artist/curator Charles Nelson investigating the aesthetics of the fast lane. Why not? Those lanes lead our harried population to pacific pastorals such as Clarkston.
Though examining some of the same cultural filters as the present Eyedrum video show, Panoptic Mind, speed operates on the idea that less is more. Eyedrum's darkened basement lined with rows of VCRs, monitors and headsets predicts a cold and lonely techno legacy. The organizers of speed selected varied media that not only reflects on future present, but gives the viewer more than a few unplugged nanoseconds to think about it, too.
Atlanta artist Gretchen Hupfel's black-and-white photos pitch the observer into a metaphoric zone. In one image, kudzu vines entangling an abandoned telephone pole demote that communications structure to a reliquary. Ironically, four digital towers surround the archaic wooden edifice like minarets might encircle a mosque.
Local painter, sculptor and philosopher Kevin Sipp once more covers metaphysical ground with music and a white line drawing. On a black painted board, his sacred geometry presents interlocking cosmic circles. "Speed of Thought," the alchemical diagram of a remix, is symbolic of overlapping cultural issues. "The whole idea that technology increases the speed of communication is erroneous," says Sipp. "The most magnificent information processor in the universe is the human brain. We don't need to relinquish our minds to live in a digital culture."
Michael Dines, another Atlanta-based artist, looks at the way different media communicates in his St. George's Island series. He renders the image of a beachscape in video, video still and large-scale painting. His gestures slow down to stop an encounter with nature.
Alejandro Pintado, a Mexican artist with ties to Atlanta via his recent exhibition at Vaknin Schwartz, shows a melange of photography, digital images and painting. His video "Observando" superimposes ghostly silhouettes of trucks, cars and people on the real life animation of Mexico City streets. "Particulas Suspendidas," two sepia-toned photographs, suspend and magnify the rapport between virtual and real by juxtaposing actual and imagined vehicles on the road.
Atlanta painter Jeff Conefry digitizes Impressionism. Creating bitmapped images of fleeting trucks on shaped canvases, he documents how culture mutates in art history. Now a New Yorker, Jill Corson continues her study of reflections. Here, she makes real time abstract and represents life as a high color rendezvous with perpetual motion. The concept of speed is most intensely embedded in the complex cacophony of "Eighth Street Cell Phone Shop."
Cullum and Nelson have ignored protocol that would preclude a curator participating in his own show. Nelson balances speed with his schematically important "Novus Ordo Seclorum" (new world order). In this latest Call and Response project, he displaces the expression from its familiar position on the dollar bill. The artist painted a wall-sized canvas inscribing those words over a couple of computer cables on a field of green. As usual, Nelson asked passersby to pose for photos in front of his backdrop. In their complicity, they acknowledge the economics of a digital hierarchy inevitably driven by what else? Speed.
speed. life in an accelerated culture continues through Feb. 5 at Georgia Perimeter College Gallery, Fine Arts (F) Building, 555 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston. 404-299-4136. A symposium will be held Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall followed by closing reception.