Technology “ is the product of a profound human desire for transcendence: to be out of body, out of mind, beyond language. Virtual space and dataspace constitute the domain, previously provided by myth and religion, where imagination, desire, and will can reengage the forces of space, time and matter in the battle for a new reality”.
My work references both Early Renaissance paintings and digital technology through highly-saturated and detailed hybrids of painting styles. The religious narratives combined with digital symbols and artifacts of digital processes suggest the spiritual undercurrents surrounding digital technology in its potential for enlightenment, transcendence, and evoking a sense of the infinite.
As a body, the work refers to the history of image-making and hints at an elusiveness in capturing the world around us. Paintings from the Early Renaissance era are marked by a flawed understanding of perspective, resulting in awkward spatial depictions immediately evident to contemporary viewers. Despite our progress in creating realistic depictions of the natural world, the fact that many Photoshop tools used to create more believable depictions of form and space are already identifiable to a contemporary viewer suggests a persistent inability to capture the physical world in all of its complexity. Within my paintings, visual cues of photo-editing software point to a type of idealized virtual reality while the disjointed space of the Renaissance compositions and computer glitch imagery reminds the viewer this ideal space is fraught
with roadblocks. By calling attention to the tools used to create illusions,I remind the viewer that our understanding of reality is often mediated and therefore less concrete than we might think.
There is a sense of a quest for the spiritual in both Renaissance and digital spaces that I find fascinating. Echoing this perennial quest, I position my viewer as an explorer and navigator roaming through various types of spaces coexisting within one composition, addressing the potential for fluidity between the concrete and the ineffable.
I feel it’s important to look at our culture in light of the past as a means to make sense of our experience in an increasingly rapidly shifting society. The recent strides in technological discovery in addition to my experience growing up at a time when the Internet first became widely available have generated a personal fascination with shifting modes of perceiving the world. Cyberspace with its endless databanks has become “ ‘nature’ for postmodern man” (Lyotard). This digital scenery has become so integrated into my life that I feel it is important to examine critically, attempting to understand and consider the cognitive and perceptual results. Instead of using a digital medium to talk about this experience I incorporate the historicity of oil on canvas or panel to enforce the tension between new and old present in my compositional subject matter.
My work points to the persistence of our desire to be transported by visual means and explores ways the spiritual realm has been represented in the past and today. The resulting paintings evoke a divine encounter, reflecting on both the religious subject matter referenced in Renaissance sources and the mystical aura surrounding new technologies.