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.

Like Menkman, Rick Silva creates videos and other moving digital art using imaging software. Often, these are designed for a hosted existence on the web, where users may freely access them on personal devices. Some of his past works adopt the commonplace form of the animated GIF, those ubiquitous, looping graphic emblems that enliven websites and HTML emails, often to the irritation of the end user. In Silva’s handling, the result is much more sublime. His projects frequently examine aspects of the landscape and wilderness in the present day. The Silva Field Guide to Birds of a Parallel Future, installed in Camera Lucida on a grid of six wall-mounted monitors, displays looped animations of abstracted avian forms sequenced in eerily naturalistic dynamics of flight. Reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s sketchbook studies of nature in motion, they also hint at a dystopian future in which those living forms have been supplanted by avatars.

This video contains an excerpt of the artist’s work.

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