This August, Times Square Arts, the largest public platform for innovative contemporary performance and visual arts, features a vivid work by Carla Gannis. Presented by the Times Square Advertising Coalition, Times Square Arts, Streaming Museum and Harvestworks, Portraits in Landscape is a video animation that exemplifies her signature process of remixing historical artworks with contemporary forms of communication, taking smartphone and selfie culture to the extreme. It depicts two separate figures in a twinkling landscape, each immersed in their smart phones and occasionally snapping photos.
The piece is inspired by the sixteenth-century mannerist painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, noted for his proto-surrealist portraits composited from images of animals, vegetables, flowers and books. Rather than static, organic objects, Gannis uses thousands of her own digitally painted emoji to compose her images. The work speaks to the hyper-real condition of inhabiting virtual and physical landscapes simultaneously, and its characters may seem uncannily familiar to viewers in Times Square.
“Portraits in Landscape, a single-channel video from my “After Arcimboldo” series, is a continuation of my focus on combining eccentric art-historical references with visual smartphone language. Through this process I reflect on the constructions and perceptions of identity in contemporary culture. Unlike the subjects of Arcimboldo’s paintings, the portraits in this series are not of aristocrats and wealthy patrons. Instead they began as 3D models, the avatars of our age, that I digitally shaped into selfie poses. I then overlaid the models with hundreds of emoji, similar to Arcimboldo’s process of using everyday objects to sculpt uncanny human likenesses. Bringing the portraits to life in a hyper landscape teeming with “digital nature” expresses my fascination with how virtual and physical embodiments intersect in our networked communication age.” —Carla Gannis
Carla Gannis | Portraits in Landscape
August 1, 2018 – August 31, 2018
1560 BROADWAY, SUITE 1001, NEW YORK, NY10036
Every night from 11:57 – midnight