Panel V       The Role of Classical Practices in the Digital Age                     Friday 9-10:30a.m

Chaired by Cynthia Kukla

This panel’s focus on classical working methods in the digital age provides an opportunity to discuss the current relevance of the practice of observation and experiential interpretation.  All the panelists use hybrid methologies:  using experiential observation along with current technologies appropriate to their work.

I am personally interested in what art work looks like when artists go to the source. In our postmodern era, the use of mediated and double-mediated sources is commonplace, no direct observation required. In contrast, Leon Golub, early in his career, studied objects from antiquity firsthand in Italy for his Gigantomachia and Sphinxes, which formed the foundation for his life work.  Golub absorbed the scale of ancient ruins, walking among them; he sketched the ruins in person as Turner and others had done before photography allowed us to remain comfortably in our studios.  My premise is that Golub’s image transformations, scale shifts and use of directly observed images evolved from his in-depth observations.  Each panelist is ‘going to the source,’ whether the Library of Congress for 19th century treaty maps, government aircraft facilities here and abroad for information on technologies not easily available, or working with the human condition and strategies for meaningful representation in the 21st century.

What happens when so many artists abdicate direct observation of a subject when photographic prints of said subject reduce/codify the visual information? What happens when artists rely on someone else’s reference and take it as fact?  How stable and reliable is a photographic or virtual source?  How has this changed the artist’s expectation of fact and how a work of art looks?

We wish to address our reliance, perhaps over-reliance on mediated sources and simulacra and that while we can rejoice in new worlds open to us through photography, satellite images of the firmament only imagined by our ancestors, bio-medical visualization that takes us into the microcosm and other imaging technology, that at the same time we should not, as artists, forgo the power of our direct observation of nature and culture when we create art.

Denise Bookwalter "Don't call it a blimp"

Cynthia M. Kukla "Classical Practices: Are Artists Still Embracing Them?"

Flounder Lee "ReMap/ReClaim"

Holly Morrison "iTouch: Presence and Essence in a Networked World"

Forrest Solis ""Constructed Observations"

Sigrid Wonsil "Compassion, Humanity, Observation:  the Real Is Beautiful"