621 Gallery at the Nan Boynton Memorial Gallery
Friday 4 November 2016 5:30 PM
Artist Talk @ 5:30pm
11-04-16 through 12-04-16
works by Joe Hedges
Tekhnē is a Greek word meaning skill. The evolution of the word technology from “systematic treatment of an art” to “the use of science in industry…to invent useful things or to solve problems” (Merriam-Webster) parallels the industrial revolution’s celebration of processes of creation and replication that were divorced from direct human contact. Using various technologies to create new media works and oil paintings, Joe Hedges explores ideas about media technology and replication.
The tradition of painting has long been preoccupied with ideas about reality. From mystical cave paintings to contemporary views of art history and abstraction, humans have intermittently embraced and rejected verisimilitude as evil trick or noble goal. Today, contemporary artists engaging with ideas about truth and image-making owe a debt to French critical theorist and grad-school seminar favorite Jean Baudrillard. Baudrillard examined mediated reality, claiming that simulations of reality had become more real than reality itself. These ideas foreshadowed the internet, an omnipresent force that is no longer considered any less real than one’s physical experience of the world.
Hedges’ works engage ideas about reality, drawing from the tradition of painting. In Waves, surrealist Rene Magritte’s painting Clear Ideas is reinterpreted to include a trompe l’oeil Panasonic stereo. In Monogram, Hedges alludes to a combine (a work that combines painting and sculpture) by Robert Rauschenberg entitled Monogram (1955-1959). By utilizing the sounds and kinetic movement of parts within a copy machine to create a digital video that is then projected onto the machine itself, Hedges blurs the distinction between tool and product. Tekhnē features contemporary combines that uses the media of our day: the physical and digital.
With the advent of the internet, mechanical reproduction as physical replication (generalized copies of an original) gave way to the possibility of digital duplication (exact copies). As office copy/fax machines become obsolete, virtual reality becomes more accessible, and the long predicted “internet of things” begin to materialize, we are forced again to reconsider the ways objects and art interface with reality.
My recent oil paintings and new media works are created by scavenging for discarded human-made and natural objects and rearranging them into new configurations. These decommissioned objects are instilled with a new sense of fantastic function or possibility, as artworks that ask the viewer to consider how our tools and materials shape the world at large. I am inspired by new philosophies that seek to deemphasize anthropocentric world views in favorite of a more object-oriented perspective. Motivated by a lifelong interest in collecting thrift-store electronics, I attempt to make visible questions regarding human relationship to technology and the natural world. How do individuals and groups imbue objects with meaning? What kinds of objects qualify as meaning-containers? These works attempt to make electronic materials more corporeal as our devices become more networked, more ubiquitous and thus more invisible in the information age.
- Photocopy of a Gresorth 9.5 inch Artificial Black Snapper Fake Fish Decoration for Home Party Christmas Display, 2016
oil on canvas
16” x 20”
- Empire of Lightning, 2016
scanner, synthetic cotton, repeat cycle timer, 5-gallon bucket, saltwater
70” x 40” x 12”
- Waves (after René Magritte’s Clear Ideas), 2016
oil on canvas
36” x 42”
- Xerography, 2016
wood, nails, stereoscopic forestry glasses, iPhone and charger, photocopies, graphite on paper drawings, paper clips, pins, manilla folder
60” x 20” x 20”
- Monogram (after Robert Rauschenberg), 2016
projection, sound, photocopier, faux wool blanket, faux tire inner tube, latex paint
7’ x 5’ x 7’