Popular culture has been molded by television and electronic graphic information since the mid-20th century. Whether appearing on a TV console, computer monitor, or smart device, video has become a comfortable, accessible, and preferred medium for both consumption and creation, especially to those among us under 30. Many critics today consider it to be this generation’s quintessential format for expression. Camera Lucida features eight contemporary artists from around the world who work with video and digital moving imagery. Artists Jay Bolotin, Rob Carter, Joe Hamilton, Yeon Jin Kim, LigoranoReese, Jillian Mayer, Rosa Menkman, and Rick Silva offer fresh perspectives on enduring concerns and new issues, using a technology that is widely familiar through common exposure, if not as broadly known as an independent art form. Yet video has been used as an eloquent and powerful vehicle by artists for more than 50 years, ranging from early documentary formats and narrative expositions to digital abstraction and game-playing interaction. JCSM’s survey provides a compelling look at the state of the medium today, where age-old intentions find new purpose in new applications.

This exhibition has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jay Bolotin turns to age-old forms of imaging technology in the creation of his richly layered, digital productions. Bolotin is a sculptor, printmaker, stage performer, and musician, in addition to being a maker of animated “motion pictures.” In all cases he remains at heart a storyteller. Bolotin Woodcut prints formed the basis for his epic “The Jackleg Testament, Part One: Jack and Eve,” screened in large format in Camera Lucida. This hour-long operatic tale was realized by scanning his prints for character and background elements, and animating them via computer. Bolotin’s original musical score and libretto combine with his expressionistic visual treatment in a reinterpretation of the Book of Genesis that channels the likes of Shakespeare, Blake, and Brecht. Bolotin’s most recent project, Kharmen, digitally brings to life his elaborate graphite drawings. Inspired in part by Georges Bizet’s 1875 opera Carmen, Bolotin credits as well the stories of Russian surrealist writer Daniil Kharms as source material for the 22-minute video.

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