Antipathy, Empathy, and Nature: The perfect storm for the digital and the handmade in painting
The box of tools and technologies in the practice of painting are both resolutely contemporary and they are ancient. Tools define a generation. Industries, mavericks, and the human hand generate them. Coupled with our eternal fascination with color as well as an idealized vision of nature painting has had a love affair with landscape. Many tell us of course that is also at the cost of nature as well. Thanks to all the painting history that made it past the Renaissance, the real and unreal are just as good. As beginners we were asked to see nature and train our hand to respond in kind. And at some point the tapestry of artists began to branch off the “art making” main river and create our tributaries. Each of these is fraught with philosophy, connoisseurship, rebellion, and failure. Viewers understand that the very lavish landscapes of the 19th century are our 21st century nostalgia. Artists strive to make something quite squarely contemporary, and though this is subjective a trained eye knows what is of the now moment and what is not. The digital finally gave something very quickly that our impatience craved, while the hand made continues to be the ever-lasting reassurance that we are in fact artists.
Kim Anno is a multi media artist who makes paintings, photography and video and artists’ books. The oil paintings are on metal and they are gestures that rearrange the landscape as a result of a changing climate. The most current works are part of a series called “The Grand Tour” in which the same hand that loves a place damages it. Anno wants to implicate the very things that she desires. The depth of loss appears in a tarnished mirror.
The photography and videos wrestle with adaptation in disaster, and have occupied an arena of irony, empathy, and loss. Anno looks at the heart of Western idealism in nature and tinkers with it. The images we expect to see forever are disrupted. Music and dance play a critical role in the videos, in that their cultural iconography are important tools. Public Celebration and sport are becoming more urgent in these works. Over the past four years Anno has been involved with making multi-media public art works that are collaborations with actors and composers, and dancers. Recently, the films are interacting with live performances with musicians, and recitation of text.
Using a live digital link brings an added dimension to the event showing how technology can breakdown barriers to aid international collaboration.