“Electronic Aesthetics” is on exhibit at the Schlesinger Center’s Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Gallery at the Alexandria Campus from Friday, September 5 to Sunday, October 5. The exhibit includes works by sculptor Eric Celarier and painter Glen Kessler and is curated by Judith HeartSong, Washington ArtWorks director of Resident Artist Programs and Exhibitions. The opening reception is Saturday, September 6 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with an Artists’ Talk at 5:00 p.m. Gallery hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and during performances.
In their work, Celarier and Kessler share a principal concern with how the advent of the microchip has initiated a hyper evolution of societal and technological change. The interplay between Celarier’s circuit board “quilts” and Kessler’s “CircuitScape” paintings reveals a beautiful and intriguing take on the changing role technology plays in our lives.
Celarier’s pieces can be examined closely for details or scanned as a whole for dramatic composition. The mural-sized designs have the ability to completely erase peripheral vision, leaving the onlooker lost in an abundance of technical parts. This ability to view the work individually and collectively is an example of what Allan McCollum calls “simultaneous double perspective,” a phenomenon that occurs only with large, composite works.
Kessler paints images that initially appear to be urban and industrial landscapes but are, in truth, magnified views of circuit boards. In his “CircuitScape” series, the analogous nature of these two worlds is formally and conceptually explored. Similarities between city design and circuitry are obvious, each exerting a bias toward efficient geometric utility, but at street level the connection becomes uncanny, leading viewers to contemplate how the hidden world of the microchip is increasingly the engine that powers our familiar macro urban centers.