The Blurring Lines Between Man and Machine on Display at SJU Gallery
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
PHILADELPHIA (October 23, 2009) – “digital, analog, analogues,” an exhibition of digitally crafted drawings and brightly colored sculptures by Chad D. Curtis will be featured in the next show at Saint Joseph’s University Gallery, Monday, Nov. 9 through Friday, Dec. 11. An artist’s reception will be held on Thursday, Nov. 12, 6 - 8 p.m.
Curtis’ work mimics the societal trend of moving away from the natural towards the synthetic. He uses a self-built digital tool to produce his work that enables him to explore the interaction of the biological and mechanical – both in the subject matter of his pieces and the means by which the pieces are produced.
“Simulation has become the surrogate for primary experience – whether via the computer, suburbia or NutraSweet®,” said Curtis. “This work, in many ways, is synonymous with Disney World or Las Vegas, as highly refined and artificial environments.”
Curtis’ computer-numeric controlled machine produces two-dimensional drawings and mills three-dimensional objects. This tool, which he constructed out of pieces he found at a hardware store, gives his work a fabricated, mass-produced feel that highlights their artificial nature.
Jeanne Bracy, associate gallery director, finds the creation process of Curtis’ work crucial to its meaning.
“While his pieces are interesting to look at, the beauty is in their fabrication and the questions his processes evoke,” said Bracy. “Curtis creates a powerful dichotomy between the natural and artificial aspects of life. His computer-generated drawings may depict soaring birds, but the images are hardly free flowing; they are rather, taxidermic. As well, the sculptures employ unnerving colors that enhance the opposition between subject matter and material.”
Curtis also explores opposition in the response his pieces create. The artificiality of his work seeks to capture both the pleasing appearance of refined materials as well as cause some discomfort with the implications of their atificial quality. Curtis hopes that as viewers distinguish between the biological and the digital, a dialogue will ensue, raising significant moral and ethical questions.
His work has been displayed across the country at galleries such as The Ice House in Phoenix, Ariz., and Real Art Ways in Hartford, Conn. Curtis is an assistant professor at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. He earned his BFA in Ceramics and Printmaking from Minnesota State University in 1997, and his MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2002.
The Saint Joseph's University Gallery is located in Boland Hall on Lapsley Lane, off of City Avenue between 54th Street and Cardinal Avenue in Lower Merion. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1840, or visit www.sju.edu/gallery.