March 12 – April 25, 2009
bitforms gallery is pleased to announce its second solo exhibition with James Paterson featuring painting, drawing and software works that are grown from a decade-long diaristic process. In his work, accumulated libraries of imagery rooted in daily experience revolve around the subjects of digestion, sex, self-critique and skateboarding.
The Rotten Fruit Tardis, launched online and presented for the first time in a gallery setting, is an animated vehicle that transports viewers between a myriad of dimensions. The “Nun Tit Oracle” and “New Zealand Vine Collection” are among many nested worlds synthesized in software by Paterson and displayed as a wall-projection. When explored using The Rotten Fruit Tardis interface, these environments reveal narrative and creatures sketched by hand, all extruded from Paterson’s drawing archive.
“My journey into programming stemmed from a desire to give viewers the opportunity to pilot my work, and feel like they are physically connected with it in a way that they would not be by just looking at a drawing or watching a video,” says Paterson. “The desire to transport people into my working instead of just having them observe it from the outside lead me to try and piggy-back the conventions of game design as a way to achieve this visceral immersion.”
A screen-based work, 5000 Drawings also plays with the relativity of an observer. Guided inside an expanding and contracting realm of fluid grayscale contours, one’s gaze can float through multiple viewpoints. Using Paterson’s first 5000 drawings since the year 2000 as content, this piece becomes a journey through a virtual sketchbook. Bubble letters, calendars, skulls, cars, mutated hands, and flowers drift in a space where visual pathways are left open for each viewer to navigate. The omni-directional interface of this work allows one to scroll through a dense soup of pictures that appear to be cutout and freed from the paper on which they were originally drawn.
In Paterson’s work the processes of drawing and programming overlap, feeding into each other. This is perhaps most visible in the graphite wall drawings of the exhibition. Scaled using a projector and drawn by hand on site, these pieces were created using The Objectivity Engine, a piece of software authored by Paterson that assists him, as a smash-up tool, in building new visual compositions out of collected imagery. Rooted in the traditions of collage by helping to rearrange a vast digital library of paintings, drawings and animation created over the years, The Objectivity Engine algorithm is rewritten by Paterson every time it is used for a new project. The ink drawings on paper in Harvest were also created using a similar process.
Collaboration is a strong feature of Paterson’s work. Sound and music in the exhibition is the result of working with Mark Hardy and Chris Grabowski of K-rAd, an electronic group based in Chicago. Also the twelve paintings in Harvest were created in partnership with artist Jeremy Felker, who used the drawings of Paterson as a point of departure. Continuing the cycle of accumulation and reassembly, these reappear, in animated form, inside The Rotten Fruit Tardis software.
James Paterson appreciates the generous support of Jen Ham, Amit Pitaru, Branden Hall from Automata Studios, James Braithwaite, Nick Petty, Robbie Cameron, Dana Gingras, Kim Waldron, Colin Moock, and Mike Gilles from Furni, without whom this exhibit would not have been possible.