Artereal Gallery is excited to present a solo exhibition by Naomi Oliver.
“SHIFT originated as my ‘handmade’ abstract watercolour, gouache and pastel paintings on paper which I scanned and then digitally manipulated using a coded processing technique of ‘pixel-sorting’ that distorts and enhances to creatively convert the originals into seemingly three-dimensional crystalline curtains and mysterious landscapes.
I have maintained some balance between the original medium and the pixel-sorted manipulation, so the digital print retains a sense of the painterly yet gains an enriched sense of the romantic, an unexpected outcome from a mechanical intervention.
Visual and audio glitches show us a fallible, ‘accidental’ human side of technology. I find it almost endearing and view my role exploiting these accidental art outcomes as a kind of collaboration.”
Naomi Oliver – Artist Statement
Naomi Oliver is a master magicker, conjuring colourful crystalline curtains and fantastic topographies that intensify the density, mystery and romance of her original painted departure images. She engages in a pas de deux of artist and technology that is not quite in tandem, at times perversely at odds, instigating a shift of mode from handcrafted to machine-manipulated and modified, and shift of materials from paint and pastel to print.
Her works originate as abstract paintings on paper in water-colour, gouache or pastel. Once the image is digitally scanned the collaborative process of artist and machine working together begins. The computer-generated file is digitally manipulated using a coded pixel-sorting processing technique which the artist-videographer intentionally disturbs and interrupts; creating and exploiting glitches that distort and extend the lines of pixels, transitioning the focus from static to falling, pulling and cascade and the colours to blur, blend and bleed. However Oliver’s video, Solubilis is simply painting with pixels. There is no departure image. The abstract moving image is a screen-based collaboration between videographer and machine. It is computer-generated – but not in the way of AI. It is guided by the artist’s vision in a collaborative and unpredictable adventure of chance outcomes and exploiting possibilities with total control vested in neither party.
The kaleidoscopic video is characterised by an everchanging viscosity and metamorphosis created through disrupting stable sequences. Solubilis is titled for an application used in molecular science and medical research, a computational method that can enhance and disrupt cell bindings and stability. Much in the way Oliver is creating and exploiting inherent glitches in her oeuvre which is at the crossover of art and technology.
Oliver’s works are a fusion of two techniques that are perceived to be philosophically opposed: the intimacy and authenticity of the handmade versus the remove and alienation of technology and artificial intelligence. Yet the videographic manipulation of the machine phase imbues a more romantic intensity and creates nuance and depth that intensifies and enhances the poetic and painterly in the SHIFT series of prints, while the choice of dense, compressed photo rag papers and absorption of inks in the print phase retains the departure painting’s crafted, tactile essence.
Naomi Oliver acknowledges that she often pushes the limits of the digital files: “… to see how much I can manipulate them while still maintaining functionality. My goal in my practice is to emphasize the human element of technology, which is often overlooked due to the emphasis on technology’s supposed streamlined perfection, despite its known limitations and flaws.”
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