Craig Dorety exhibits Layers and Light at Johansson Projects
By Max Eternity
“Inverted Pixel Array — Street Scene NYC” by Craig Dorety, Jim Campbell (Image: Craig Dorety)
In the 1970’s and 80’s common vernacular for the word “layers” or “layered” typically referred to someone’s hairstyle.Think: Farrah Fawcet, Donna Summer or Lief Garrett.That was back-in-the-day, however in the digital age—especially for the millions of people worldwide who have in the last 20 years become familiar with Adobe Photoshop and similar software applications—what now generally comes to mind when the word “layers” is used is not a fluffy, textured hairdo, but instead visual imagery created with the use of a computer by way of compositing multiple images to make one seamless picture file.
Yet beyond and as an outgrowth of the virtual world of computers screens, a new art exhibition in Oakland, California presents layered artifacts as composite wall sculptures made up of physical massings that incorporate colored light in the form of electronic paint permutations glowing soothingly upon tiered geomorphic surfaces.
The artist: Craig Dorety.The gallery: Johansson Projects.The show: Division.
It’s an exhibition that captivates viewers in a perceptual seduction supplanted by-way-of Dorety’s curious technique and process, which marries soft-edge geometric planes with emotive halos of light juxtaposed in voids of potentiality scaling to infinity.
Employing simple, supple, illuminated forms that engage, enchant and delight, Dorety brings “the viewer face-to-face with the limitations of perception.” And when asked via email about the intent of his Division exhibition, Dorety said that it’s “really an examination of visual limits, or quanta of visual perception.” Further, drawing a parallel to the migraine headaches he sometimes experiences, Dorety says that the “sculptures are shaped like parts of distortions in my vision that I experience during ocular migraine.”
Artistic inspiration from a migraine…who knew? Yet it’s true, as Dorety explains his migraines have revealed that his “vision is not a continuous field of color, but, in fact, is divided up by the brain for processing.” This, he says, is comparative to the pixels of a TV screen or monitor, whereby the brain is continuously processing “minute, discrete bits of color information as seen with the eyes.”
Known as one of the most cutting-edge galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dorety’s Division exhibition opens this Friday, May 2nd at Johansson Projects, and includes an art collaboration with Jim Campbell.
In the following visual essay, Dorety responds to additional AD MAG interview questions:
“Quadralateral Hyperbolae – Tropical Fish Tank” by Craig Dorety (Image: Craig Dorety)
AD MAG: Who came up with the name for the “Division” exhibition, and why?
Dorety: We discussed a number of show titles. This one was succinct, and includes the word vision, which is a major concern of the work. In this series I am dividing space into layers of self-referential forms; the edges of each layer divide the image color into juxtapositions. I am also dividing the source digital imagery into slices that become frames in the animation.
“Offset Circles – Fruits and Vegetables” by Craig Dorety (Image: Craig Dorety)
AD MAG: If you are familiar with the work of LED artist, Leo Villareal, how do you feel about his work?
Dorety: I know Leo’s work. His use of algorithms that emulate natural behavior is inspirational. Unbeknownst to him, he is a bit of a nemesis for me. On multiple occasions I have created an artwork only to discover that Leo had already done something very similar. We are definitely tuned into a similar frequency.
“Offset Circles – Autumn Leaves Blue Sky” by Craig Dorety (Image: Craig Dorety)
AD MAG: For naysayers of digital art and new media, any comments?
Dorety: Technology is a reality. If a collector would put a networked home automation system in their house and bear the responsibility of maintaining it and upgrading it…why not take the same approach to digital art? As digital art and new media become more accepted, museums, galleries, and brokers will develop a broader network of technicians that are qualified to repair and conserve works of this nature. Art has been hand in hand with technology since the dawn of history.
“Collapsed Hyperbola – Tiger on the Grass” by Craig Dorety (Image: Craig Dorety)
AD MAG: How would you describe your relationship with Jim Campbell?
Dorety: I have worked with Jim for over 6 years as mechanical designer and project manager on many of his larger works. He is a mentor, friend, and employer. I began my work with LED technology before I knew Jim, so when we met, it seemed like a natural place for me to find work and gain experience with the medium.
“Inverted Pixel Array — Street Scene NYC” by Craig Dorety and Jim Campbell (Image: Craig Dorety)
AD MAG: To young artists, might you share a few words of inspiration?
Dorety: Art is sacrifice, introspection, relevance, and takes all the energy you have. It should constantly be the most difficult thing you have ever done.