Hollis Cooper: Invirtuality
Autonomie is proud to announce a solo show of Hollis Cooper on Saturday, September the 17th, from 7:00 to 9:30pm, with an adjoining show by Seann Brackin in the project room.
The paintings and installations of Hollis Cooper are invested in the haptic and the optic construction of space in a way that privileges neither while questioning both. Her compositions act as a recursive loop that joins the digital and the painterly in a series of complex mediations between memory, found materials and innumerable acts of aesthetic transduction. Cooper’s works remind us that ‘the virtual’ is not just a hypothetical construction, but that we encounter the production of virtuality all around us as a series of visual tropes, cultural memes and rhetorical devices. Much like her immersive environments we find ourselves encircled by the digital aesthetics of cinematic seductions, scripted spaces and technologized environs — or what many theorists now refer to as a culture of remediation. By folding different digitized spaces together — spaces from internet chat rooms, videogame backgrounds and various forms of theoretical architecture — Cooper’s work engages in a kind of radical geometricism that points to the instability of ‘the virtual’ as a well defined local. In fact, her painterly installations insist upon a type of shifting presence that is determined by the interplay of the viewing situation as well as the orchestration of technological motifs, nexus effects and (de)constructed systems of representation.
One could even say that Cooper’s hyperbolic vivisections of architectural and computational space show us how the virtual is commiserate with Deleuze’s interpretation of the term —where the virtual is conceived of a series of potentials within the real that are irreducible to the structures that condition their appearance. Rather, Deleuze provided us with a vision of the virtual as a paradigm of compossibilities that unfurl and unfold all around us in anti-systematic, anti-linear and anti-teleological ways. Such a notion of mixed topologies; of visual events taken as so many forking paths; and of the type of dynamicism that issues from the (neo)baroque theatrics found in Cooper’s imagery could all be thought of as allegorical effect of the anti-Cartesian urge — or even as a model of Deleuze’s devout anti-Platonism. In many ways Cooper’s artistic practice could be characterized as a type of cartographic cataloging that takes emergent properties and proliferating mutations as its given subject.
In her most recent works however, even these pictorial anomalies find themselves displaced by so many generative derivations — giving rise to a spectrographic language that can only be described as Baroqucoco — or as embodying a hybrid disposition toward the use of different motifs and the logic of embellishment. Cooper’s newly extended vocabulary is not so much about the artificiality of architectural systems as it is about capturing the texture and trace of vituality in all of its various incarnations. Such a cacophony of visual paradoxes makes us question how we think about the structuration of space while the phenomenal complexity of her works asks us to activate our perception of the living present in order to map its constructed measures as naturalized artifacts. This is perhaps, what it means to be in-virtuality, or within an aesthetic experience that subtracts from the known what we think we have always already known before.
Seann Brackin: It's Happening Right Now
Seann Brackin's work as an abstract painter is focused on understanding the topography of gesture as a virtual and performative model of inscription. He has taken hard edge painting into the twenty-first century by bending and warping its constituent elements: bold graphic shapes, eye-popping colors and sleek surfaces. His morphogenic compositions no longer feel related to the essentialist outlook of the abstract classicists but to the curvilinear exuberance of the (neo-)baroque. This shows itself through layers of pentimeti that pile up like translucent wire frame meshes just below the thin verneer of his otherwise immaculate surfaces. For all of these reasons Brackin's work presents us with a model of contemporary abstraction that is neither overly distopic nor unrepentantly optimistic but which helps illuminates the conflicted status of the present.
Bio: Seann Brackin, born in 1976, uses paint, sculpture, performance and the street to make art. He graduated from Claremont and The Pacific Northwest College of Art and has worked as an art librarian at the Portland Art Museum. He shows across America, in Seoul, Korea, Madrid and Berlin. He is living and making art in Madrid, Spain, where he works independently and with the art group El Keller (http://blogs.latabacalera.net/elkeller/).