The percussed victims of the new technology have invariably muttered cliches about the impracticality of artists and their fanciful preferences. But in the past century it has come to be generally acknowledged that, in the words of Wyndham Lewis, “The artist is always engaged in writing a detailed history of the future because he is the only person aware of the nature of the present”. Knowledge of this simple fact is now needed for human survival. The ability of the artist to sidestep the bully blow of new technology of any age, and to parry such violence with full awareness, is age-old. Equally age-old is the inability of the percussed victims, who cannot sidestep the new violence, to recognize their need of the artist. To reward and to make celebrities of artists can, also, be a way of ignoring their prophetic work, and preventing its timely use for survival. The artist is the man in any field, scientific or humanistic, who grasps the implications of his actions and of new knowledge in his own time. He is the man of integral awareness.
~ Marshall McLuhan, Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar – Excerpt from Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
With Adobe’s Museum of Digital Art, Google’s Art Project, and increasing amount of artists presence on the web, the contemporaneous issues facing the art world entail, first and foremost, a lack of definition around what is considered New Media art. With the interfacing of arts and technology within the digital movement, it’s up to artists to evolve alongside the rest of the world and at a much faster rate. With web components to exhibitions to online museums and exhibitions, the real problem lies within how such virtual forums and venues must compete with the ideas and perceptions already ingrained into the collective consciousness around museums, galleries, and art spaces. It’s not only a matter of aesthetics but physical art, historically, has always been untouchable. The advancements in social networking and communication, make for a wide array of possibilities in showcasing and educating the public on art. Yet, with the belief that art is already seemingly untouchable, what happens to the world of the virtual where there is yet another layer of comprehension that must take place in order to understand and experience the art. Many of these philosophical questions will be addressed at the Rewire Conference 2011 scheduled later this year in Liverpool, England. The event caters to artists, technologists, scholars, designers, engineers, and educators from around the world to exchange critical dialogue and practices specific to the arts and technology realm. The conference addresses key topics related to the new media community. Questions regarding issues of documentation and how one writes about new media art from an art history lens are discussed as well. Something more immediate to address these concerns is currently being investigated through virtual spaces and art can such as the online exhibition look art, which is sponsored by arts and technology organization Turbulence.
Anais Nin once said that the role of the writer is to not to say what we can but to say what we cannot. The sentiment certainly translates well into the visual arts. Often, dishonesty abounds in everyday pleasantries, which is why the artist strives to reveal the truths of human interaction. To detect the context and sub-context. The artist mines the crevices of everyday exchanges and finds the raw, unpolished, sometimes tarnished, kernels of mundane gesture and speech to create something undeniable about the human condition. The artist is often brave enough to produce work that shows what one may conceal and obscure. Meet Carissa Potter. Her utilization of simple materials to express complex emotions is a clever depiction of the intensity and gravity of love in an authentic way.
Potter’s drawings are created from various materials such as pen, ink, marker, and textiles. Using techniques such as printmaking and installation, Potter’s multi-faceted work takes on dimensions that fit the ideas she is trying to convey. At the SOMArts Cultural Center’s Spread group exhibition earlier this year, she included a print piece, “You Love Me”. The work consists of an accordion folded paper piece that declares the words, “You love me” followed by images of commonly liked things (i.e., ice cream, sweaters, Harrison Ford, and unicorns, to name a few). Potter’s use of everyday objects in her art creates a strong bond and connection with her viewer.
At first glance, Potter’s drawings and sketches seem simple and straightforward. There’s an accessibility and resonance to the work. Her fondness for turning the multitude of everyday actions and thoughts into fine art has a tremendous effect on what the viewer is willing to experience and how they will do that. People understand authenticity. Love, loss, frustration, anger, happiness, sadness, and elation are all emotions people can correlate to their own experiences. In Potter’s work, there is something for everyone regardless of whatever culture, sub-culture or ethnicity someone identifies with. There is something about the individual viewer in the work.
Although some of the works may produce feelings of uneasiness or conjure one’s insecurities and fears, they give the viewer permission to engage, feel, and re-act. For individuals that crave art that is witty and complex, yet simple and straightforward, Carissa Potter is the artist to view. With bits of humor nestled between the lines of images and text, one is welcome to simply enjoy the quips. The intention of the artist is also left to the viewer. Whether the art is a cathartic expression or musings on unanswered questions of lost love, the artist welcomes whatever perception and understanding you have of what you see. Another aspect of her work deconstructs the moments we may forbid ourselves to experience or reactions to situations that we may normally suppress. One may ask, seeing a chronicle of the artist’s depictions and understandings of love and loss, what makes this art and why pay attention? Without question, Potter braves the impervious layers of life, dusts off all the fossilized sentiments, desires, and angst and hits directly upon the nerves that force the observer to beautifully collide the past with the present and future.
Please click here to view Carissa Potter’s work.
Published to Asterisk SF Magazine.
The Rock Paper Scissors Collective (RPSC) is an Oakland (CA) based organization that seeks to connect with the Bay Area community. Currently, they are seeking artists (all kinds) for their Professional Development Series called, “Artist’s Thrive”. It’s a 16 week series that explores many facets involved in both creating and promoting one’s work. The series breakdown is as follows:
* Resume & CV
* Documenting your work
* Online Presence
* Proposals and Exhibits
* Promotions & Press
* Fundraising & Sponsors
* Institutes & Programs
* Legal Aid & Contracts
* Sponsorship & Collaboration
* Creating Public Work
* Conceptual Collaboration
If you’re interested, please visit the RPSC website here.