The Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University presents Hi5, on view in the Stanford Art Gallery from January 13 through March 1, with a reception on Thursday, January 15, 2015, from 5 – 7 PM. This annual group exhibition introduces the five first-year MFA students in Art Practice: Ashley Valmere Fischer, Simona Fitcal, Cy Keener, Masako Miyazaki, and Justin Wood.
Faculty curator Xiaoze Xie states: "Hi5 brings together an extraordinary group of young and ambitious artists who employ a variety of media to explore existential, social, environmental, psychological and aesthetic issues, as well as the relationship between the physical and the virtual. What distinguishes the show is the prominent role computer technology plays in these innovative projects.”
Ashley Valmere Fischer’s series of photographs portray the rhythm of human life against the backdrop of vegetation, mountains, and rivers. Titled Temporally Tellurian, the series is a study of the effects of humans on the natural environment and describes the impact of our footprint on unspoiled land. Some seek out far-away, detached land that distances themselves from crowded urban centers, and this return to the land, captured in Fischer’s photographs, represents a contradiction to our plugged-in global culture of instant access.
Simona Fitcal’s body of work offers a symbolic and expressive approach to digital visual effects by means of interactive installations, multimedia performances, and experimental video. Her inspiration is that of globally relevant topics, including environmental issues, advertising and privacy, and cultural identity. On view during Hi5, Fitcal will display a few of her twisted polygonal frames, hung from the gallery’s wall, which will be used as the surface for a projection of an organic-shaped 3D animation.
Entering through the gallery doors, past the lobby and into the main room of the Stanford Art Gallery, visitors are greeted by Cy Keener’s A Letter from the Sky. The large, rectangular structure located in the middle of the gallery floor, is externally covered with aluminum that contains abstract line drawings. Upon entering the dark structure, viewers find a space that they can meander through, with strands of fiber optic light puncturing the darkness within. The strands, as well as the external line drawings, translate snippets of collected and calculated raindrop data into a visceral and emotional language of space, light, and form.
If extremes mark the outermost bounds, then the space within consists of everything we may know. Masako Miyazaki’s work focuses on the forms that emerge and dissipate in this intermediate space. Miyazaki strives to capture the temporal nature of life’s living mass not through a single image, but through several scales and perspectives, which she attributes to the serial nature of her drawings. Maps is a series of abstract, neutral-toned paintings of large, bold shapes with surfaces that suggest the passage of time, attempting to document the anatomy of habits, thoughts, automatic skills, and implicit knowledge.
Justin Wood creates work that explores both the common ground and disparate nature of the relationship between analog and digital worlds. In his large-scale faceted piece hung from the gallery’s back wall, Wood references The Dead Pearl Diver (1858) by Benjamin “Paul” Akers. The piece, with it’s peaks and valleys of alabaster material, are the foundation for projection of a 3D moving image of a woman striking a similar pose to Akers sculpture, and in part, explores Wood’s apprehension of the quest for artificial intelligence.