In its first exhibit of the semester, the Memorial Union Gallery is focusing on the digital and synthetic environments we place ourselves in.
The two exhibits feature new works by artists Tyler Evin and Sarah Faye McPherson, whose art represents our connections to each other and the world.
In Gallery A, Tyler Evin’s paintings depict glitches in the otherwise natural human form. His artwork also features static and blocks of color, like in TV testing. The title of his exhibit, “(Dis)Connect,” speaks to our mediated connections.
“(Evin) is very much exploring how technology and humanity interact,” said Anthony Faris, the Memorial Union Gallery curator and coordinator, “and how we may feel more connected as people, but we actually end up being more lonely and disconnected … A lot of his works are glitches. Sort of separations of how we would traditionally identify the human figure in these works. But there’s parts of them that are pushed outward or pushed aside in this way that isolates them.”
When asked if students would be able to connect to the experiences Evin is describing through his works, especially with their usage of technology, Faris commented that there is an “inherent quality” in Evin’s art students will recognize.
“Someone may be waiting alone in a line with five other people, but they’re not talking to other people,” he explained. “You’re communicating with people or you’re viewing other people being active while you’re in a stationary place (through your phone).”
Much like Evin, Sarah Faye McPherson’s works depict the synthetic world that modernity has brought to life.
McPherson’s works center around the idea of making the natural unreal: fake plants, fake rocks, fake granite. Her work pulls pieces from the environment and places them in an unnatural setting, with unnatural products.
“(McPherson’s) work is about synthetic objects and experiences and spaces, compared to what actually exists in the natural world,” Faris said. “…You have the relationship between a rock and grass, but what is the new relationship between faux rock and faux grass? Is there a relationship? She sort of deconstructed our landscape and put it back together in a way that seems more appropriate to synthetic objects.”
Along with her carefully placed synthetic objects, McPherson’s exhibit also features wooden boards depicting erased landscapes, psychedelic images of blended organics and a projection of historical architecture being deconstructed, including Stonehenge.
Faris chose these two artists to begin the semester for two reasons: accessibility and professionalism.
“I wanted to start out the year with work that I felt is very accessible, but also speaks to the environment we inhabit, whether or not they be our environment or our digital spaces,” he explained. “I also was interested in displaying work by professional, practicing artists right off the bat that would introduce students to some media they may not necessarily be familiar with, including installation work.”
Tyler Evin and Sarah Faye McPherson’s works will be on display as part of “(Dis)Connect” and “Coexist,” respectively, until Sept. 19. The reception will be held Sept. 19, with an artist talk by Tyler Evin at 5:30 p.m.