Installation View of "partlycloudymostlysunny" June 12 - September 12, 2010

Andrew Neumann


June 12 – September 12, 2010

— Introductory statement by Francisco J. Ricardo, Ph.D.

If we were pressed to summarize the major practices of 20th century visual art, they could arguably fall into three principal ones: representation – depiction of experience as sensed in the world; formalism – experiments based on geometric or color regularity, but also including conceptual art of the 1960s and 70s; and process – art that makes explicit the manner of its construction, as exemplified by Abstract Expressionism, action painting, and many post-World War II directions in modern sculpture. Despite the tendency of some artists to blend some of these dimensions, each tradition from Cubism to postmodern hyperrealism has remained remarkably loyal to one or another of these directions, and rarely more than one.

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The historical regularity of this pattern is what enables us to understand why the work of Andrew Neumann produces an insistent sense of uncanny refusal to fall into one of these patterns, for it comprises and equal synthesis of all three major modalities of art while maintaining them all in continual tension. There are, for example, undeniably evident forms of representation in the photographic and filmic realism contained in these works. Likewise, the rectilinear structure in the composition of elements of each work confirms a marked attention to formal considerations. No less obviously, Neumann’s Industrial Wall Panels make visible the perspective of the observer by integrating it within the electronic and kinetic mechanisms of the actual construction – all of which signals an emphasis on process where the work is reconfigured not as a higher kind of object but rather as a new kind of subject through the shift in emphasis from the finished work to a demonstration and enactment of the primordial processes of the observer in the filmic sculptures that perform their own gaze. But in all works, we can sense engagements with new temporalities and points of observation subtly embedded in a treatment of the image that is simultaneously filmic and sculptural.
– Francisco J. Ricardo, Ph.D.,
Rhode Island School of Design

This work reflects issues concerning the uses of technology, language, and transmission of power in both its various corporeal and elusive modes. These works, which I call Industrial Wall Panels, re-contextualize the technologically derived icons and place them in a new environment that allows one to question their original use and see the possibilities of organizing these icons/objects into a new language with a completely re-defined hierarchy.

I am interested in technology and its use as a representational model. With this work I am attempting to develop a specific iconography that reflects upon the recent evolution of technology while at the same time pulling it out of context and questioning its main function as a reflection of the authoritative and corporate powers that it is most clearly aligned and supported by.

By deconstructing these technologies, and reorganizing them into new formal “Panels”, I am questioning the value of the objects, disregarding any protocol (which is at the heart of any system) and exploring the relationship between technology and the world it is meant to serve.

True, a certain mechanical aesthetic is prominent, employing, for example, video capture and kinetic movement of sculptural elements, but the principal engagement happens in a kind of space between a captured moment and the current moment of motion, or between an observable aspect of the sculptural object and the same component viewed through the works video-retinal act of self-observation. This kind of engagement defines a space within which the technology of the video or kinetic sculpture is experienced less as an artifact of the technology than as a highly formal bridge into perpetual questions of depth, objecthood, and presence.

The framework, or panel has always been constructed of plywood. Originally, these panels were painted “industrial gray”, so the base material was already being transformed/acted upon, and any “organic qualities” were rejected or dismissed. For the past few years, in a desire to “strip away the veil” of the object, as it were, I started exposing in part the raw material itself, the plywood. This led to further contradictions between materials. Much of the most recent works have rid themselves of the painted veil completely, leaving the frameworks in a natural state, devoid of any technological connections, and those objects/icons placed on the frame hopefully have an even deeper ironic value.

Another main interest of mine, as a practitioner of avant-garde film methods and ideologies, has involved the observation, manipulation, and dissection of the “cinematic apparatus”; the film camera and projector. In electronic media, the connection is not as cleanly defined or direct; although the camera and monitor/projector are the basic mediators of the image, a great deal of electronic manipulation can occur with ease and immediacy. With the wall panels that incorporate cameras and monitors, the project was to allow the “apparatus” to be evident to the observer, and allow for the experience of optical apperception, perception, and misperception to be integral to the work itself. My project thus uses a deconstruction of technology as a transparently instrumental medium to highlight the rupture between machine (which serves the user in a dedicated mode) and user (whose subjective perspective is shaped by its use), embedding a sense of subjectivity into the mechanism itself.

The Video Projections draw upon another series of related issues. From a technological standpoint, these works are based on real-time manipulation and interaction. I designed a system where a computer program controls a small video switcher via the serial port, enabling interruptions in real-time between a variety of video sources. In essence, it works like an optical printer for video; the great advantage being that it operates in real time, and even lets one “improvise” and manipulate in real-time.

My work is about developing a new schema by presenting and integrating a variety of contradictory set of signs, visual references, and textual notions in an attempt at hybridization that will hopefully provoke in viewers a new relationship to mechanistic visualization.

– Andrew Neumann, 2010

Andrew Neumann is a Boston-based artist who works in a variety of media, including sculpture, film and video installation, and electronic/interactive music. In 2004, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 2006, a LEF Grant. He has recently had one-person shows at bitforms Gallery (Seoul, Korea), the DeCordova Museum (Lincoln, MA), bitforms Gallery (NYC), and numerous shows for the Boston Cyberarts Festival. His videos have been shown on PBS, The Worldwide Video Festival, and Artist Space. He has had solo music/video performances at Isseu Project Room, Experimental Intermedia, and Roulette, all in NYC. Neumann has also been an artist-in-residence at Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester, NY), The MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, NH), YADDO (Saratoga Springs, NY), Art/OMI (Chatham, NY), and the Experimental Television Center (Owego, NY).