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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Some New American Paintings: A Surprising Take On Tech In Art

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • Matthew Palladino, courtesy Ever Gold Gallery

The stigma attached to the word "technology" is probably felt harder in the Bay Area than anywhere else in the world. And if you're concerned about the rapidly changing local arts scene, you might argue that this town is just too small for the worlds of technology and art to coincide.

But historically, that's backwards. 

The two feed each other. The first tools used to create amulets and sculptures in ancient cultures shaped the face of art just as much as the prevalence of the photography altered the use of depth and space in paintings at the turn of the century, or the use of photoshop changed the look of the late '80s and early '90s. Even in San Francisco in 2015, the technology of the day isn't an enemy to art — it's arguably the biggest support to art aside from mankind's inherent need to create. The two simply don't exist without each other. And with the overwhelming possibilities that the internet offers in terms of easily accessible artistic platforms, the line between tech and craft becomes thinner and thinner. 
  • David Bayus, courtesy Ever Gold Gallery

And so now, more so than ever, the medium of painting covers a wide range of vastly different techniques and ideas — a small but mighty selection of which are shown during Ever Gold Gallery's newest group exhibition, "Some New American Paintings." A short essay on the artists's responses to the by scholar Alex Bacon will be released in catalog form in conjunction with the exhibition.
Despite superficial appearances, the best artists working in painting today are not approaching it as a reflexive, medium-specific extension of modernism. Instead, they are using painting as a frame, tool, or focal point by which to get at a number of pressing contemporary issues. This is a direct result of the new roles that painting has taken in a digital age.

Painting has always existed in relation to technology, where the term is understood as more than a synonym for digital devices and the Internet, but as the practical application of specialized knowledge: from the brush, to the compass, to the camera obscura, to photography, and, more recently, to the inkjet printer. However, it is only now that painting is so closely affiliated—morphologically, aesthetically, and conceptually—with the digital technologies with which it is engaged. This is not a case of artists appropriating arcane or specialized knowledge, as when artists in the 1960s avidly followed, and made use of, the latest innovations published in Scientific American. Today, artist and viewer alike share the experience of these digital technologies as familiar, available, and omnipresent.

-Alex Bacon, 2015
  • Eric Shaw, courtesy Ever Gold Gallery

"Some New American Paintings" features eight contemporary painters, each showcasing their inevitable uses and responses to the technology and world around them. And in typical Ever Gold fashion, the carefully curated group includes some of the most innovative up-and-coming artists — a claim that most galleries aspire to, and few pull off as successfully.

  • Carolyn Salas, courtesy Ever Gold Gallery

The show includes photorealism by David Bayus; good-humored "sticker" collages by Matthew Palladino; Carolyn Salas and her muted Styrofoam sculptures; and bright, color-field style pieces by Eric Shaw — among others.

Some New American Paintings, through July 11, at Ever Gold Gallery, 441 O'Farrell, 415-796-3676 or 

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Laura Jaye Cramer


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