Elusive Matter brings together four artists working within and pushing the boundaries between the virtual and the physical. Referencing object-based material combinations in digital works, and a software sensibility in studio-made pieces, the works appear side by side in digital portfolios, further removing the viewers' ability to discern the maker's process. The artist's ability to create both the pieces and context for the work lays claim to limitless virtual exhibition space. This controlled context extends to visual branding, imagined domains, and fabricated retro-futuristic anthropology.
Kari Altmann's works range from individual creations across material realms to a collaborative culling of found, produced, and/or altered imagery in multiple Web-based projects. Using a Tumblr format, Garden Club, Hhellblauu, and R-U-IN?S (among others) present their content as an ongoing, scientific report log on an expanding set of memes including branding, globalism, and absurd biology. Altmann's digital pieces include morphing 3D liquid, as displayed in Chrystal Gallery, proposed bootleg artifacts, future rebrands, and specimen-style arrangements that pose as extractions from mutated ecosystems of products and information. In her sculptural work, Altmann brings her digital sensibility into her hand-made objects, using glass and holographic security film to create a rendered slab of a raw material that is questionably virtual. Altmann has also used her collections of Web images to create physical installations, as in Hellblau, a physical image pool made with content from the Tumblr of the same name.
Brenna Murphy is a cross-disciplinary artist working with sound, installation, sculpture, performance, and dense digital output. She is also a founding member of the Portland-based performance collective Oregon Painting Society. In both her physical work and vibrating Web page pieces, Murphy organizes collected everyday detritus into grids of repeating patterns, and a tongue-in cheek new-ageism is a common theme. In the large, undulating, web-based grids, the assembled images vary in depth and perspective. Some frames vibrate while others contain short looped gif animations. Rendered shadows and contours add texture and dimension to these compositions, which could not exist outside of the confines of the computer. Each element retains an incredible level of detail while also blurring, even literally, real source imagery with digital alterations and truncated environments. In some cases, the jpegs and videos that make up the Web pages exist as individual pieces or performances on other Web content hosting sites such as Flickr and Vimeo.
Aaron Graham creates digital images and Web-based works that combine traditional studio processes and object art history with references to the image editing and compiling software used in the works' creation. Deep Slide (more Photoshop-based) and Stuff in Places (a series of single fixed images that scroll down over a series of found photos) are web works that are a layered and shifting cascade of suspended images- jpegs of framed C-prints, isolated objects, screen shots, airbrush marks, and rendered surface textures. Through these maneuverable online composites as well as his more static jpeg collages, Graham achieves a pictorial complexity that that appears simultaneously deeply personal and completely detached. His work reflects a Web users endless search to satisfy a visual fix that always proves to be fleeting. The reoccurring motif of masking tape is a device that reinforces the temporary nature of these image combinations and the subjective malleability of other potential juxtapositions.
Ben Schumacher, primarily a sculptor, uses the Internet to create and control the context for his work and to produce additional, serial idea prototypes and pseudo artist personalities. Presenting his work with added watermarks, slogans, and branding, he frames them against surface textures and palettes that recall interior design samples from the 80s. Text is often used that combines high-end contemporary advertisement layout and commonplace online self-promotion. His physical work has manifested in three-dimensionally printed objects (rapid prototypes); large, textured trompe l'oeil monochromes with exaggerated cast shadows; and assisted found object / digital print sculptures.
Alex Ebstein and Seth Adelsberger co-founded and run Nudashank, an independent, artist-run gallery in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. The gallery has hosted over 25 shows, exchange projects and satellite exhibitions since opening in March of 2009. Through their program, they strive to showcase emerging artists and contextualize Baltimore's diverse art community with the larger art world.