Galleries

In Bushwick, Two Takes on 3-D Modeling

"Rick Silva: En Plein Air" at Transfer gallery, installation view (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)
“Rick Silva: En Plein Air” at Transfer gallery, installation view (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

One type of artwork Bushwick probably does not need more of these days is abstract painting. Another type it may or may not need more of is work in 3-D imaging and modeling (discuss). But two artists who use this medium in very different ways are being presented at gallery spaces near each other in Bushwick this weekend. The contrast is so good, it comes to seem like a purposeful pairing.

Up near the northern edge of what’s technically considered Bushwick (at least for Bushwick Open Studios purposes), relative newcomer Transfer gallery has an exhibition of artist Rick Silva’s En Plein Air project. As the title suggests, Silva works within the long art historical tradition of setting up one’s canvas outside and making work based on and inspired by nature — except for Silva, there’s a twist: he does it in 3-D, using his laptop as the canvas on which to create images and animations in response to the environment. The idea is so genuinely clever, I’m surprised I haven’t come across it before.

Posters by Rick Silva
Posters by Rick Silva

Silva’s pieces range from classical landscapes that simply look like they’ve been made on a computer to recognizable scenes tweaked out with evidence of 3-D modeling (neon-colored diamonds, for instance), to renderings that look entirely abstract. In the animations, the fluid motion of lines and waves connects the evident artificiality to the natural source from which it sprang. The wide variety of images, especially the abstractions, points to how much room still exists in our definition of landscapes, even after so many centuries of seeing and creating them.

Transfer is showing projections of Silva’s works on a wall in the back, each one followed by the location and time of its making. Meanwhile, five stacks of posters on progressively higher pedestals fill the space, featuring prints of five of Silva’s pieces. The layout nicely evokes the geometry of his art, and the posters are free (!) for the taking.

Shamus Clisset, "Manute Bolzani (Heat vs. Magic)" (2013), c-print, 80 x 53.625 inches (click to enlarge)
Shamus Clisset, “Manute Bolzani (Heat vs. Magic)” (2013), c-print, 80 x 53.625 inches (click to enlarge)

Four blocks south lies Storefront Ten Eyck, the future home of Storefront Bushwick. For Bushwick Open Studios, proprietor Deborah Brown has installed three shows in as many rooms (plus a fourth occupied by Nurture Art). The most exciting belongs to artist Shamus Clisset, whose 3-D modeled c-prints are trippy and surreal, sometimes bordering on creepy.

Clisset plays on the contradictions of his medium by creating works that look like photographs but could never be them, by virtue of their crazy, impossible subject matter. In one, parts of a skeleton sit in a stack of plastic chairs with balloons overhead that read “Happy death day”; in another, dozens of Bobby Brown CDs assume a sort of floating sculptural form. “Manute Bolzani (Heat vs. Magic)” (2013) mashes up the Vitruvian Man with a basketball rivalry.

Works by Shamus Clisset: left, "Happy Death Day!" (2011), c-print, 80 x 53.25 inches, and right, "Cruel Rock Wit'ch" (2013), c-print, 80 x 52.75 inches
Works by Shamus Clisset: left, “Happy Death Day!” (2011), c-print, 80 x 53.25 inches, and right, “Cruel Rock Wit’ch” (2013), c-print, 80 x 52.75 inches

Unlike Silva, Clisset is working entirely from his imagination here; although his pieces show and include everyday objects, he doesn’t use photographs as a starting point. While Silva is bringing digital technology into contact with the environment, then, grounding the medium in something “real,” Clisset is using the same tools to push the everyday into the realm of complete and crazy fiction. Assuming these two are markers of what lies ahead, I suppose we could use more 3-D modeling around Bushwick after all.

Shamus Clisset is on view at Storefront Ten Eyck (324 Ten Eyck Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn) through 7 pm today. Rick Silva: En Plein Air continues at Transfer gallery (1030 Metropolitan Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn) through June 8.

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