Just another UMW Blogs weblog


This German Expressionism flipbook uses “Large Head” a German expressionist woodcut by Christian Rohlfs from 1922.

John Blatter graduated from Ohio State University with a degree B.F.A. in Sculpture and then got his masters at Virginia Commonwealth University in Sculpture. Blatter’s work deals mostly with audio, videos, and signs in an installation media. Blatter’s work often resembles minimalism in how the work is displayed however the work does not lack representation, metaphor, or symbolism like minimalism. One can also see Blatter’s background in sculpture in his thoughtful exhibition of his audio and visual piece;. for example, “Moments” which is an audio installation that captures a moment of singularity. Even though he doesn’t sculpt the speakers, the simple way he displays them the viewer is able to see his understanding of form. Blatter also works with the entire environment in his pieces. He understands the power of invoking not just your visual sense but your auditory, sensory, etc. This is important because for art to really reach the core it should touch every aspect of the viewer.

I personally really enjoyed Blatter’s work. I really felt he understood the need to capture the viewers attention and invoke their senses. I also liked how Blatter used viewers and outside participants in his work. I think it gives the viewer an even greater investment in  the piece. I can also see a lot of art history references in Blatter’ s work which I really like. For example, “Light in B Minor” references Dan Flauvin for me but it obviously dives more into the digital realm with the ability to program the dimmers to a musical composition. Blatter is very thoughtful in his work which I think his evident in that his work is extremely intricate. Sometimes his work seems simple but in reality it is much more complex and I really like his contrast. I think his exhibition style also resembles minimalism but i think the work itself is very metaphoric and symbolic which is another great contrast. All in all I really enjoyed the work and I think he is very innovative with blending different medias.

Here is the documentation of my final project in picture format!

Have fun looking through the process of creating this piece!

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Nam June Paik has revolutionized digital art, specifically digital art. Born in Seoul Korea in 1932, Paik has lived through this revolution of contemporary artwork and the movement of digital medium into the art world. Paik left Korea in 1950 during the War for China and then to Japan. He studied at the University of Tokyo focusing on art history and music history. These focuses you can certainly see in his work. Then Paik went Munich University to study music as well as Frelburg Conservatory. In the late 1950s- early 1960s begins associating with John Cage, a modern composer and comrade of Duchamp. This heavily influenced Paik work with music, other digital mediums and the conceptual combination of music and art. One of Paik’s most famous works is “Buda TV” (1974), where Paik places a statue of Buda in front of a small television set. This installation/digital medium piece speaks follows about the affect of technology and medium on the morals of the world. Another piece of his “The More the Better” (1988) which was featured in the Guggenheim Museum. This piece is a tower of over 1,000 similar televisions, commentating on the over consumption of our world and how technology is fueling it. However, in each of these piece where on the technology appears to be “the evil” you don’t get the feeling Paik views technology this way simple because it is his medium of choice. However, he could also be attempting irony to propel his art further. Paik has continued to make artwork up until the early 2000s.

I enjoyed Paik’s work a lot. I found his use of music and knowledge of music evident in almost everyone of his pieces. I enjoyed his play with different art forms as well as different mediums. I also admire his bravery to tackle this somewhat unknown medium and pursue its artistic potential. He pushed digital/video art to what it is today and helped future conceptual digital arts understand the power of repetition, irony, and music/sound. I think his “Buda TV” piece is very insightful at a time when the newness of technology was overwhelming and to be able to see this potential required great foresight and knowledge. I also really enjoy when he uses a bunch of televisions to create one big image. I feel like the visual stimulation is overwhelming, in a good and powerful way. All in all I think his work is very thoughtful and aesthetic stimulating.

Paik Video

Stephen Vitiello now a Professor at VCU has a lot of experience in installation and multi-medium art working together and giving the viewer in the gallery an multi-sensory experience. His work primarily deals with sound, which is an innovative avenue for art because most artist tackle the visual aspect of human senses and Stephen primary focus the hearing sense. Vitiello, however, does not ignore the aesthetic visual qualities in his pieces. He displaces his speakers, or other sound mechanisms in such aesthetically interesting ways that his installation is  part of the art. He also collaborates with many other artists that compliment his work by bringing in other art that invokes other human senses. This makes the entire installation piece a stimulating experience for the viewer. It is also interesting to note the because Vitiello is focusing his work around sound he is in fact probably listening to sound/music while he is making his artwork which is slightly different for artist who work with visual senses because they aren’t always able to simultaneously use the same sense they are focused while making their artwork. It simple makes for an interesting process.

I found Stephen Vitiello’s artwork very stimulating and his process very inspiring. I like that he works with other artists to make the piece an overall experience for the viewer and I also like how he considers the overall appearance versus just the sound. I really enjoyed his World Trade Center series. I liked how it incorporates an element that many people don’t immediately associated with art or even sound and just simple created this soundtrack for something very powerful. I also found it interesting how the sounds taken really had nothing to do with the politics going on inside the World Trade Center. I also like the pieces where he placed these fairly high tech speakers in trees, or among vines and other natural elements because I thought the comment on how we often just think of sound as occurring in the human world but it is not the only sound out there is really interesting and new for many people. I also like when he places the sound/ speakers in books or pieces of text. I thought this commentary on the sound of your thought processes is an interesting perspective.

Paul Pfeiffer was born in Hawaii in 1966 and spent in childhood in the Philippines. He then came to New York and attended Hunter College in 1990. Pfeiffer’s work is very image and media orientated. Most of us works are propitiated sports clips that he is manipulated to give an entirely new context. Pfeiffer believes in the power of images and the hold they can have over a person. In today’s media drenched world, where images are all around us, Pfeiffer likes to comment on how these images have developed and affect us, before and after he has manipulated them. Pfeiffer works as a photographer, sculpture, and video artist and intertwines each medium with each other for his works. He is a very educated individual and uses history references in his pieces to get across many points. Most of his works are named after past paintings or biblical references. This also gives the images a different context that they might not have had.  Pfeiffer also uses looping in his video pieces a lot. This repetitive nature links us to the repetitive nature of the general media.

All in all I enjoyed Pfeiffer’s work. I enjoyed his pieces like “John 3:16” because of the biblical references showing a greater understanding of history and its influence and also the looping in this video i think is brilliant. I also really enjoyed his photographer which I thought were emotional, raw and very technically inspiring. However, I find his work sometimes to be a little stagnate or one-note. I think his work is interesting and thought provoking however I don’t think it is very deep and I think it also lacks a certain ambiguity that I think is necessary to keep a viewer interested. I think his historical references help out with this but i still think there should be more. I also enjoyed “Fragment from a Crucification” because of the deeper historical references apart from the generalized media stimulation. I think there are deeper meanings in his work but sometimes the overwhelming theme of media stimulation can overload the more interesting meanings.

John 3:16

Bill Viola is a very celebrated video artists, a pioneer in the field. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1973 with a degree in Fine Arts and then traveled to Florence, Italy to study and he met Digital Media artists Bruce Nauman and Vito Acconci. Viola started his career as a digital artists right at at digital’s inception. Modern artists of the time saw that this was the new exciting area to travel and this area contained an entirely new place for people to experiment and be inspired. Having this inspiration around him was highly influential to Viola and also helped propel his current success. Bill Viola’s work is also highly inspired by typical human experiences such as birth, death, time, etc. In his recent piece “An Ocean Without a Shore” the viewer is able to see the inspiration of birth and death in the work. The work is a video of people moving through a wall of water and as they move through this wall of water they become more focused. The work is placed in a Church in Venice which also carries significance and links death and birth to the piece even more. It also gives it a since of spirituality that each one of Viola’s piece innately has. Viola gathers much influence from his surrounds. In his piece “The Reflecting Pool” one can obviously see how influenced Viola is by time and space and how a specific space and time can reflect so crucially in his work. Viola also tries something new in all of his pieces and he has such architectural and scientific mind as well as an artistic mind. This merging allows his pieces to constantly wow the viewer emotionally but also aesthetically.

I really enjoyed Bill Viola’s work. I felt his work was broad enough that almost everyone could relate to it but it wasn’t too broad that it felt  false. I manged to strike this balance which is almost impossible to strike. I like when artists produce artwork that can strike a cord with almost everyone and Viola’s work has this potential. It isn’t immediately obvious when you see his work but the relateable quality becomes more apparent when you determine what the piece is about. I also really like how he chooses to present his work like in “An Ocean Without a Shore.” It seems so perfect that it should be showing in an old church. This new media in this very old church seems so poetic and the fact that both the church and Viola’s work are addressing similar sentiments of death creates an even greater link.
“The Reflecting Pool” is another great work because of the technology behind it. This piece shows just how innovative Viola is and how his works really do push the Digital envelope. The idea seems very simple but the execution of the work is very complex. This contrast is very intriguing. All in all through watching his work and hearing him describe his work it is very apparent how and why Viola is seen as a great mind in the digital, video art world.

\”An Ocean Without a View\”

\”One of his First Works\”

Jeff Baij

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Jenny Holzer is a Ohio University and Rhode Island School of Design graduate American born artist. Holzer started as a painter and printmaker and become a conceptual artists working with text and light during the 1980s till now. Some of her most famous work is a series called “truisms” which are common myths and phrases on random subjects Holzer chose. These “truisms” were presented in public arenas because Holzer wanted them to be public knowledge. In general Holzer’s work is in the public art format. This is most obvious in her Projections series starting in the 1980s. This projection series projects writings, not written by Holzer, on buildings around the world. Having these projections in such a public format gives more merit to their importance forcing most people to contemplate their meaning. With the size and lighted quality of these words, Holzer is giving “light” to the possible subjects she feels are not discussed enough. Also Holzer’s works are extremely sight specific. The specific text she choices for each building, river, or space in general not only represents an idea but reflects and relates to the area where they are exhibited. This gives even more meaning of the text to the viewer.

I really love Jenny Holzer’s work. I find it incredibly original and unbelievably inspiring. Her work, because of its size and simplistic nature almost takes your breath away. Its aesthetic alone is mesmerizing but then to realize that the words projected or the “trusims” picked really mean something and reflect the people and places they are in is even more gripping. Some may argue that her work is to simplistic and since she doesn’t write the text she is using, where is the creative process and her own mark. However, I see the unique way she choices to exhibit these works as a very creative process and the specific sections of text she picks obviously mean something to her, thus placing her own mark on the work. She is trying to make a public statement in the obvious way but there is still an ambiguity and beauty to her work that it doesn’t seem contrived or ingenuous. There is also an inspiring element in her ability to “go big.” There is a certain courage that resonates from these pieces by displaying the statements she views as most important in an almost unavoidable public format, compared to the relative comfort of a gallery.

Jenny Holzer PBS Video

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