Cloth, 2010floorcloth, size variable, drawing/painting, canvas, image transfer, acrylic paint, marker, chalk

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Cloth consists of a group of floorcloths that take on sculptural form. Floorcloths are surfaced designed canvasses, traditionally used as floor coverings. They reference domestic functional decoration and structures, imagery and tropes. Within a visual arts context, they represent alternate aesthetic practice and history, namely issues around feminism and the re-evaluation of what has been traditionally labeled women's work.

One of the most vivid references for the floorcloth imagery is the Dutch vanitas paintings of the 17th century. These paintings were an expression of the ephemeral nature of life and pleasure—a morality lesson. Flowers and flies populate my floorcloths as they did vanitas paintings. As much as the floorcloths refer to a history of painting they also negate that allusion by their functionality, impertinence and horizontal orientation. This is art to walk on. The viewing perspective creates a dizzying sense of vertigo and dictates a new way of looking.

Floorcloths have always been primarily about pretension. They were a poor man’s Persian carpet—thin, flat, paint taking the place of rich, warm tufted wool. They have the subversive power of a fake or a facsimile.

 


 

 

Low LIves, 2010virtual reality performance, machinima, comic book documentation

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The Low Life Epic, part of The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life series, was instigated in Low Lives 2, an international festival of live performance-based works transmitted via the internet and projected in real time at multiple venues around the world, held in month 2011.

The Low Life Epic documents a performance (machinima and graphic novel) in which Nar Duell sets out in real-time to visit the darker side of Second Life. She attempts to experience the seven deadly sins in five minutes time.This work is not simply the presentation of a performance in virtual reality; it is the transmission of these moments from real life to screen: what gets lost, conveyed, blurred, and reconfigured in this medium. In this segment, Nar Duell reveals a growing-pain phase in which she craves attention. Like any good bad-girl, she cajoles other avatars to join her.

Low Lives 2, El Museo del Barrio was co-presented with Aljira, NYC, NY; Galería de la Raza co-presenting with ATA Gallery, NYC, NY; Diaspora Vibe Gallery, Miami, FL; The Temporary Space, Houston, TX; Obsidian Arts, Minneapolis, MN;Terminal:Trahern Building,APSU, Clarksville,TN; Co-Lab co-presenting with Fusebox Festival,Austin,TX; Studio 304, Brooklyn, NY, 2010

Comic Book

 

Chelsea Girls, 2010photographic series of 14, 13” h x 19” w, Epson Ultrachrome K3 ink, Epson Ultra Premium Luster Photo archival paper, edition of ten

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Chelsea Girls is a photographic series that illuminates the impersonality of the pristine, white-walled gallery spaces of the Chelsea district in New York City. It is neither a critique nor a celebration of the art market and its display strategies. Instead, the work documents façades and surfaces. Like portraits of people, the galleries portrayed attempt to fulfill an overarching role as ambassadors of cool, yet idiosyncratic elements poke through, like tusks of hair or bald sheen hovering above barricade-like reception desks. These small peculiarities of human nature, barely differentiated from the architecture, become relatable; gestures that break from their pretentious, sterile, confined and refined structures.

The simplicity and sheer banality of the subjects are striking; grouped together as a series, the galleries gain personas - people each with their own guise and particular shadings. Similarly, the photographs each depict a vista of white walls, yet their capture is off white, an altered perspective - the aspect of being a stranger in New York and thus, the ability to take notice of the desk quirks instead of the giant artwork.

Chelsea Girls is an exploration of the real and the virtual, peoples' images and projections of who they are, versus their actual lives. The title takes up this endeavour, as Chelsea Girls has multiple references which include the secretary position being feminized, and her potential dual-life as a prostitute, punk girl, or Warhol groupie. The fictional lives and guises of the gallery space and its personas relate to my ongoing exploration of virtual identities and relationships.

Catalogue

 

 

 

Pushing Art, 2010relational hybrid reality installation, performance, sculpture, projection, comic book documentation

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Pushing Art is a sculptural rendition of a hot dog cart/newspaper stand converted into a mobile gallery space. The work stemmed from a photograph of a vendor’s cart parked in front of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. The projected video inside the cart depicts cells of the comic book documentation of adventures with a virtual avatar in Second Life, as well as found images and photographic work. This mobile photographic sculpture brings virtual reality into live reality. In this installation, digital collage is integrated into comix style documentation and interactive performance as a means to break photographic norms and push outside the static walls of the art gallery. Pushing Art was displayed in the evenings on a pedestrian street in Toronto, Canada. The position of the work outside literally makes it ‘outsider’ art, as the art-cart is pushed to a local video store, restaurant, and record shop. While parked at these locations, the work emits an enticing colourful light.

 

Curator's Essay


 

 

Image from The Adventure's series

The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life, 2010 - 2012comic books, collaged photography and screen shots, series of six, commercially printed edition of ninety-nine, 10” h x 6 ½” w, extra large bound edition of ten, 22” h x 17” w


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The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life explores social exchange and notions of self and other in various contexts. Through both execution and composition, the work bridges the perceived opposites of physical and alternate spaces and identities by creating performance, installation, graphic novel and video works which span real and virtual platforms. Through this process, a novel methodology for constructing an artistic narrative is employed, a strategy that humorously and sincerely builds upon personal experiences and endless re-contextualization.

This body of work addresses and brings into question multiple realities and spaces: graphic novels, virtual worlds, and interpersonal relationships chronicling real-time interaction in the virtual community of Second Life in a 'comix' style treatment. Images are captured of the virtual avatar, Nar Duell, as she travels in the virtual world, and includes images of photographic and sculptural work to further the narrative. Shopping in Second Life, also known as found object, movement and captured machinima, becomes a principle strategy for art-making and performance. The Adventures... uses multiple realities and zones to subvert any idea of place, culture, and even time. The series as a whole, toys with ideas of exclusion and loneliness in vast, real and virtual, constructed landscapes.

The translation of virtual adventures into 'comix' style documentation is a natural expression of the experience of spending time in Second Life, as the superficial and arbitrary nature of virtual life is mirrored in the 'pow, bam, zap' aesthetic of the printed page. These episodes engage with artifice in contemporary life by referencing virtual reality life, and build on stereotypes in order to create artificial, mediated virtual and real experiences that reflect aspects of our current social culture.

Acquiring an avatar exposes the narcissistic relationship that people often develop with the portraits they create or commission of themselves, whether a static photograph or scripted avatar. The creation and relationship to one's avatar 'portrait' in Second Life is all-encompassing. People lavish time and money in order to represent themselves, but the disconnect from reality is unavoidable as one interacts with this virtual space.

Comic Book Narratives

The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life – Pillflower World

This epic introduces the reader to the interactive virtual world, and my avatar, Nar Duell's personality. Nar Duell creates a world of her own, illustrating the possibilities and limitations of computer-generated spaces and aesthetics. The visuals are captured in Second Life, and also include images of my ongoing installation, Pillflower Project, which is composed of colourful pill and tablet medicinals manipulated into a multitude of flower patters that cover domestic objects.

The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life - Snow/Globe Epic

This group of works (graphic novel, machinima and installation in Second Life) engages with artifice in contemporary life by referencing virtual reality and tourism, building on stereotypes to create artificial, mediated travel experiences. Within the online world of Second Life, my intrepid avatar, Nar Duell, and I share many adventures in which we interact with other avatars, dance, fly, chat - the whole time encased in a snow globe. This piece is a metaphor for the conflation of locale, space, culture and time. Snow globes are universal signifiers of kitsch, are also ubiquitous souvenirs of travel and exotica. Tropical scenes can suddenly share the cold weather precipitation of the North Pole, inadvertently subverting distance and difference. By 'becoming' a snow globe my avatar embraces the cultural stereotype, playing with the fluidity of assumed iconography and signifiers. This piece acknowledges the structure of national identity and borders while at the same time subverting any idea of place and even time.

The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life - Pushing Art

This issue in the comic book series stems from a photograph I took of a vendor's cart parked in front of the Museum of Modern Art while visiting New York. In this issue, my avatar becomes an art collector, a do-it-yourself crafter, and mimics performance art. Nar Duell travels through spaces I have captured through photography, such as my photographic series Chelsea Girls (2007), and Second Life spaces I happen upon during my virtual explorations.

The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life – The Low Life Epic

This work documents a performance (machinima and graphic novel) in which my avatar sets out in real-time to visit the darker side of Second Life. She attempts to experience the seven deadly sins in five minutes' time. Nar Duell is going through a phase in which she craves attention. She attempts to go into every sex club, every seedy alley, and fulfill every vice in Second Life. She screams out, pleading and begging for interaction, and cajoles other Second Life avatars to join her in adventures. This work is not simply the presentation of performative gestures in Second Life; it is the transmission of these moments from real life to screen: what gets lost, conveyed, blurred, and reconfigured in this medium.

The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life – Dancing With Myself

Dancing With Myself documents through a graphic novel the experience of creating a hybrid reality performance, in which my avatar is programmed to dance in Second Life, and I respond to her actions in the real-time gallery space.

The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life – Finding TrackHouse

This work documents a hybrid reality exhibition that was accompanied by websites, created in 2009 in collaboration with artist Kim Mitseff. The playfulness of virtual exploration, a multitude of personal interactions, ideologies and cacophony of images are collaged into a narrative.

Comic Books