The Littlest Magpie

Just another UMW Blogs weblog

Jeff Baij

March 8th, 2011

A Message to the Artist

Jeff Baij is a digital artist who works with both image and video. His artwork is predominantly displayed through his personal website, which includes gifs, a sort-of biography, his daily/weekly/annual projects, and links to his other websites. Some projects, like his 2010 Animals Made of Things, are simplistic in their technical handling. Others, particularly his gifs (bamboo1,bg5), display more skill in creating and can range from smooth and seamless to jerky stop-go movement. Both his gifs and his images display the preliminary exploration of digital image software; the pixels are very evident, there are a myriad of various filters being put to use, and generally he doesn’t alter source material so much as to be unrecognizable.

There’s a definite humor underlying many of his works and his website itself. Whether he’s being deadpan or deliberately obtuse is left up to his viewers; he doesn’t make his intentions easy to ascertain. He’s clearly taken past negativity and criticism in good humor, posting several examples on his website, and seems to be actively seeking interaction with his internet audience. The range of work he produces seem aimed to explore basic imaging software as a way of creating art, and also aimed to provoke reactions with its sheer inanity. I can’t say that his works strikes me as particularly groundbreaking, nor as having much deeper meaning, but after scouring his site I’m amused by its quirky, lackadaisical nature.

Robin Rhode

February 21st, 2011

Robin Rhode is a South African-born artist who interacts with his 2D works in such a way as to bring them to life. His tools of the trade are simple dry media such as charcoal and chalk, which he uses to draw on walls, sidewalks, any sort of flat public surface. He has drawn things such as chalk bicicyles, which he then attempts to ride, chalk cars, which he tries to break into, circular shapes, to which he attaches a person’s eyes, etc. While most of his work does revolve around series of motion-oriented photographs or videos, he also makes prints and exhibition pieces. His Bathing the Queens prints show a man’s hands dipping Queen playing cards in soapy water; Cap’n Coins has a silver-plated bronze skullcap half-full of coins for placement in a gallery.

I found Rhobe’s work highly enjoyable. He reminded me a bit of Dan Witz with his imaginative and unexpected use of public places to create art. His Car Stealing video – composed of stills from the artistic act – was light-hearted and amusing, but his work gains a darker edge when his background and surroundings are taken into account. He makes some of his pieces in his native Johannesburg, and the poverty of his surroundings is incorporated as a further statement in his art.

Class Italian trip

February 15th, 2011

Pipilotti Rist

February 15th, 2011

Pipilotti is a video artist born in Switzerland. Her real name is Elisabeth Charlotte Rist and she works out of Los Angelos. Her  videos have a huge sense of surreality to them, color and sound often distorted, and displayed very very large. Some of her work, such as the 1999 video I Couldn’t Agree With You More, is subtle, with images fading in and out of sight. Other things, such as I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much, are much more immediately striking, and yet others (Ever is Over All) start off semi-normal and then take a startling turn for the bizarre.

There is a great deal of sexuality in her work, specifically as it refers to feminine sexuality (although coupledom is occasionally explored, as well as her nude self). She seems especially interested in the concept of feminine strength. Her website is strange, with disorienting audio and hyperbright colors, but everything she makes has a super-vivid sense of surreal cheer. It takes some fiddling around to learn how to access different parts of her work, which made me wonder how much of her gallery exhibitions were automatic and how many were interactive until I found youtube videos of her exhibitions.

Ever is Over All on Youtube

Cory Arcangel

February 8th, 2011

Cory Arcangel is a digital artist born in 1978. He specializes in program writing and computer hacking, and, rather than creating art from nothing, prefers to edit things that were not previously art and turn them into his own. Music also has a heavy influence in his art, and he often splices and scrabbles music files to play at his exhibits.

Arcangel started his hacking career in college, when he took the school email system apart and reprogrammed it to shut down the computer of whoever opened it. Shortly after he got involved with BEIGE, a team of computer programming enthusiasists who appropriate obsolete gaming and computer code and turn them into art or music. He is interested in the aesthetic qualities of old programs, which he likes to apply in different ways or, in his own words, “muck around with.” A good example of this is his early work Super Mario Clouds, where he hacked an old Mario World cartridge to display only the clouds. He’s also combined DJ records with data as a way of combining musical files with scratch-war sound.

There is no denying that his work takes a great deal of skill and, in the last couple of years, it seems like there’s been an upsurge in more personal work. Cory Arcangel has taken to writing more articles as well as focusing on things like his Sorry I Haven’t Posted blog, which chronicles the banal to the touching in “Sorry I haven’t posted!” comments over the net. His earlier work has a heavier sense of nostalgia, especially as a lot of it concerns vintage games. Unfortunately, and confusingly, some of his files – such as his Data Diaries, and – no longer work.

fffffff –

February 8th, 2011

I accidentally deleted a bunch of comments tagged spam. So this tells me not only that my settings don’t differentiate between comments and botspam very well, but that some of you may well think I’m ignoring your kind comments. It’s not true! They’re just sort of…. gone now.

Tsk. I hate Mondays.

Matt Siber

February 1st, 2011

Matt Siber is a digital artist and a photographer. He is extremely interested in mass media and commercial advertising, as well as the psychological effects of brand advertising on human decision-making. In several of his projects, such as the pieces he’s built – his billboard, the florescent light sign, the bicycle – he takes away the advertising to leave just the structure. In others, such as the Floating Logo series, he digitally manipulates photographs to remove the support for various logos. In Compare To…. and Mr. & Mrs. Smith he photographs objects and signs to show how advertising manipulates thought.

I can’t say his work thrills me. The conception behind it is very strong and very interesting, but the actual art seems somewhat boring. The meaning, once understood, is psychologically fascinating, but the art doesn’t lend itself easily to interpretation. Until I read the project statements, I had no idea what he was trying to show. And, should I have seen his work in a gallery, it’s very likely I wouldn’t have understood why it was there. I don’t discredit it as an art form, but it is not my preferred art form.

However, there is one exception. I really loved his floating logos project, an image of which is shown below.


January 27th, 2011

Mike Wsol

January 25th, 2011

Mike Wsol is an artist interested in environment and architecture. Creating both prints and sculptures, he explores human and natural systems. His exhibit “Part of a Bigger Picture” is the one that came to UMW, but he has had several in other places, including one called Terra Inverta inspired by the contrast between rural Illonois landscape to Chicago cityscape. His sculptures, usually made of wood and metal, range from the organic to the rigid and are often very large.

As an artist who has attempted sculpture a few times, I’m impressed by the obvious mastery Wsol displays in his work. The craftsmanship is exquisite. Some of his drawings are likewise extremely complex, the repetition of shapes and angles dizzyingly precise and his fascination with architecture strongly evident. However, they read as blueprints for bigger projects instead of finished drawings. I don’t know if it’s possible to build some of the things he draws, but I’d love to see him try.

Principles of Design

January 25th, 2011

My examples.

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