QUEST FOR PERMANENCE

Co-curated by Barry Cavin, John Loscuito, and Michael Salmond

Sponsored by Gene and Lee Seidler, WGCU Public Media, and The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel

May 19 - June 23, 2016


May 19  •  Reception and Performance 5pm

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Reminiscent of quests for extending life, such as the search for the Fountain of Youth and the science of cryogenics, this exhibition features seven artists documenting and reflecting on the complexity of time and place. Quest for Permanence features a wide range of materials and approaches to making art. Performance, installation, design, photography and more show a few of the varied methods that we as artists and humans use to preserve our individuality.


The traces left behind from our lives suggest the illusion of permanence as we struggle against our finite existence. We assure ourselves that it is for others that we leave these traces, but the truth, of course, is that we want to live forever.


Artifacts, made from more durable materials such as stone, bronze, frescos and other forms of art and architecture serve as reminders of those who have come before us. As we have moved into the digital age the action of documenting our lives has become ubiquitous. The works in this exhibition show seven unique perspectives on the human condition using a wide range of materials and techniques. From the spiritual to the mundane, the familial to the mythic, these artists reveal our absurdities and our grand desires.

CYANE TORNATZKY, (American, b. 1965)

In An Attempt at Recreating Utopia Through Mechanical Means: Babylon One and Two (2014), Tornatzky used a 3D modeling program in an attempt to “draw” utopian structures - in this case, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. In attempting to mediate/contemplate/honor/invoke this wonderland, she opens up a conversation about what it is we want from our dreams of a better world. For A Performative Action: Building a Utopia (2015), she took stills from a 10 hour video wherein she repeated the actions of a millworker from New Lanark’s period of utopian socialism. She used these images in the zoetrope to underscore the cyclical nature of societal approaches to utopias.

Cyane Tornatsky is an Associate Professor of Art and Electronic Art Coordinator at Colorado State University. She holds a M.F.A. in Conceptual and Information Arts from San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA and a M.A. in Education, San Francisco State University and a BA in Philosophy from College of Wooster, Wooster, OH.

Cyane Tornatzky, “An Attempt at Recreating Utopia Through Mechanical Means #1,” 2014,  Inkjet print of 3D file, collage, 32 x 26", Courtesy of the artist



GHOSTBIRD THEATRE, (founded May 2012)

Tracing Ghosts is Ghostbird Theatre Company’s collaborative performance between founding members Brittney Brady, Jim Brock, Katelyn Gravel and Philip Heubeck. A combination of poetry, live soundscapes and movement, the 30 minute performance reflects on the nature of temporality and the way our memories reshape and redefine what was once the present moment. The sculptural remnants of this live ritual will remain on display in the gallery space for the remainder of the exhibition. The remnants mirror our own memories of the performance as they are a kind of tangible memory and will change over time.

Ghostbird Theatre Company was founded in May of 2012 as the resident theatre company of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in Downtown Fort Myers.  This year, however, Ghostbird Theatre has taken flight, mounting four site-specific theatrical pieces throughout Lee County, two of them free and open to the general public. This performance is supported, in part, by grants from the City of Fort Myers and the Lee County Tourist Development Council.

Ghostbird Theatre, “Tracing Ghosts,” 2014,  Image still, Courtesy of the artist



LEILA MESDAGHI, (Iranian American, b. 1977)

In Deeper Than Sorrow, Mesdaghi enters an empty pool that has silently been sitting in her father’s garden in Tehran, Iran for the past forty years. By writing on the cracked and faded walls of the pool, she begins a dialog between memory and perception, alluding to a universal longing. Her marks behave as an instrument to recuperate from the pain of separation. She leaves behind traces of her presence there, as she returns to her home in Fort Myers, Florida. Her marks fade away as time goes by, but the memory of her presence will always remain. By merging performance and video, she has been exploring the space between presence and absence.

Leila Mesdaghi is a multi-media artist and she holds a BA in Art from Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL and a BA in Law from Tehran Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

Leila Mesdaghi, “Deeper Than Sorrow,” 2015-2016, Mixed media installation, Courtesy of the artist



CHAD JENSEN, (American, b. 1977)

In 2014 Jensen designed and launched the Versailles Collection for Thomas Riley Studio. Silhouette de la Garonne from the Versailles Collection renders homage to one of the world’s greatest treasures. The piece is inspired from the sculpture, River Garonne by Antoine Coysevox (1640-1720), at the Palace of Versailles. The intention of the work was not merely to draw inspiration from Versailles but to somehow help carry its legacy into the future. Through artful examination he was able to suggest the details of the iconic sculpture, remaining true to form while allowing for interpretation. This perspective ultimately led to pieces classical in content yet contemporary in form and presentation.

Chad Jensen is the Creative Director of Thomas Riley Studio, Naples, FL. He holds a BFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI.

Chad Jensen, “Silhouette de la Garonne,” 2014, Exterior: Gold Mirror Polished Stainless Steel Interior: Mirror Polished Aluminum, 37 x 72 x 15 1/4”,  Courtesy of Thomas Riley Studio



BENJAMIN GROSSER, (American, b. 1970)

Tracing You presents a website’s best attempt to see the world from its visitors’ viewpoints. By cross referencing visitor IP addresses with available online data sources, the system traces each visitor back through the network to their possible origin. The end of that trace is the closest available image that potentially shows the visitor’s physical environment. Sometimes what this image shows is eerily accurate; other times it is wildly dislocated. What can a computational system know of our environment based on the traces we leave behind? Why might it want to see where we are? How accurate are the system’s data sources and when might they improve? Finally, what does this site’s attempt to trace its visitors reveal about who (or what) is reading the web?

Benjamin Grosser is an assistant professor in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He holds an MFA in new media and an MM in music composition (both from UIUC).

Benjamin Grosser, “Tracing You” (still), 2015, Computational surveillance system, Courtesy of the artist



HASAN ELAHI, (American, b. 1972)

After an erroneous tip linking the artist to terrorist activities led to a six-month-long FBI investigation, Hasan Elahi began to voluntarily monitor himself by photographing mundane details from his daily life and sending these images — hundreds of them each week for over a dozen years — to the FBI. Thousand Little Brothers v4 is a detail from a composite image made up of approximately 32,000 images from that ongoing project. The colored panels refer to SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) color bars. This television test pattern has been used in the United States for Emergency Broadcast System tests, during which regular programming would be disrupted and this pattern would appear.

Hasan Elahi is an Associate Professor of Art at University of Maryland and from 2011 to 2014 was Director of Design | Cultures + Creativity in the Honors College. He was a 2010 Alpert/MacDowell Fellow and in 2009, he was Resident Faculty and Nancy G. MacGrath Endowed Chair at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Hasan Elahi, “Thousand Little Brothers v4” (detail), 2015,  Pigment print, 120 x 161”, Courtesy of the artist



KENT ANDERSON BUTLER, (American, b. 1971)

Sacred Encounters, a series of four videos, is based on the relationship between sacred space, landscape/environment and the body. The soul is a seedbed for ideas, concepts and revelations. The religious philosopher Teilhard de Chardin once wrote, "Instead of regarding ourselves as human beings struggling to have some kind of spiritual experience, perhaps, we would consider the possibility that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. And the human experience, as we know, for better or worse, is lived in the body."

Kent Anderson Butler is the Director of Visual Art & Professor in the Department of Art & Design at Azusa Pacific University. He holds a M.F.A. in Creative Photography Emphasis from California State University, Fullerton, CA and a B.S. Art in Video and Film from Biola University, La Mirada, CA.

Kent Anderson Butler, “Bathe” (still, 2:20), 2015, Video, Courtesy of the artist


 

Kent Anderson Butler, “Bathe” (still, 2:20), 2015, Video