With an artist statement, the artist synthesizes in text the discursive route, investigative methodology, and potential knowledges explored in his practice of art-making, and shares first person the connection between his medium of transmission and message(s) transmitted. The artist statement is an essay constantly evolving to reflect progress in the artist’s body of work itself, and is revised as the artist acquires further critique, insight, and knowledge; deploys new methods, aesthetics, and theses; and for purposes of venue, exhibition, and audience. By including here my artist statements both current and past, my intent is to exhibit for you the viewer some of my process, and to reveal how–as the artist–my perspective on, critical analysis, and understanding of my own work develops over time.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT AS OF FEBRUARY, 2015

A scholar artist, my research methodology as an art historian complements my studio practice as a digital painter. In multimodal visual inquiries, composed in screenshots and textual witness on the computer desktop that is my canvas, I employ cultural analysis as informed by the paradigm of the mind sciences to investigate a thesis at the intersection of visual and textual literacy. With a haptic tool-gesture system of hand, pointing device, and graphical user interface, I navigate knowledge landscapes to curate found sources as well as photography taken with and text written by my own hand. Through this research-led artistic practice, I probe how the topological structure of our body and its interaction with the environment inform the morphological properties of aesthetic paradigms; iconography encodes gender norms, behavior, and identity; methodologies for image analysis may advance an intertextual inquiry across academic disciplines; and the signs and significations of communication culture evolve from our biological inheritance.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT AS OF SEPTEMBER, 2014

A scholar artist, my research process as an art historian complements my studio practice as a digital painter. In multimodal visual essays, composed in screenshots and written inquiries on the computer desktop that is my canvas, I employ cultural analysis as informed by the paradigm of cognitive science to craft a thesis at the intersection of visual and textual literacy. In the laboratory space that is this artwork, I evaluate how the morphological properties of image and text produce additional meanings when in collaboration with each other; how reciprocating codes of spatial perception, semantic content, representational iconography, and non-linear narrative advance inter-textual thought; and how the signs and significations of visual culture develop from our biological inheritance.

In an era defined by networked individualism, when a prolificacy of online images necessitates of us adeptness in visual analytics, and artworks increasingly emigrate from museum and gallery walls to the screens of classroom and hand-held devices, I ask: In what way do the aesthetics of this virtual environment encode our cognitive, emotional, and physiological development? To what extent does cultural learning influence the social expression of these activity states? How do secondary sources configure primary experience? By what methodologies may we trace the reciprocity between poetic expressions (through which we frame, adjust and share our representations of self) and biological processes (with which we perceive, engage and regulate our experience of self)? In what way are digital media aesthetics embodied? How, for example, does our body schema qualify image composition, body regulation image interpretation, and body imperatives image function? Can digital media education empower us to act with agency rather then serve as vectors of cultural transmission? And might digital media stimulate a critical awareness of the process of identity construction, the socio-cultural consequence of categorization, and the ethical imperative in word choice?

With a studio practice advancing from instruction in traditional painting, I choreograph my visual essays through a haptic tool-gesture system of hand, pointing device, and graphical user interface, navigating virtual knowledge landscapes within a monitor’s picture plane and operating system’s iconography. Curating found sources, as well as photography taken with and text written by my own hand, I contour art as intellectual query–as an argument more than a representation. Through what I classify as thesis-investigative art, I attend to the materiality of an artwork, the process of artistic creation, and the role of the viewer. Centrally placed in this interaction, the viewer is posed a thesis supported by academic research in-library as well as on-line, proofed in a data set, and articulated in a screenshot.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT AS OF NOVEMBER, 2013

At once the penultimate archive and repository of human knowledge, opinion and culture, the Internet is also the digital embodiment of the archival impulse to document or extract, share affirmation and download association, and the amnesiac urge of an indeterminate, constantly-evolving system. In this poly-centered environment administered by consumer-driven modes of communication, and inhabited by a poetic web of protocol and image caption, site reference and blog post, explicit and covert messages generate a hierarchy of verifiability within a hyper-didactic landscape. Where search engines direct methodology and online platforms impose interaction’s form, mind is a verb and, as the sum of that to which we are exposed, we assert agency in search navigation and appropriate identity in link and like.

From this online stock of accessible reality, I curate found image, text and web-source into a visual essay, crafting a thesis at the intersection between visual and textual literacy. Tracing a pentimento of prior agency in search history and previous perception in browser window, the computer desktop is my canvas. With the temporal rhythm of online time punctuated by the user’s choices and no parameter long yielding the same information, performing an internet search is an excavation in both virtual space and time. A screenshot captures a still from this activity and produces a record of an ephemeral moment. Restoring a haptic quality to the virtual domain, the printed screenshot presences the account of that subjectively witnessed, encapsulating an inherent vulnerability.

In the composition of search parameter and collage of window, I examine the process of identity construction, the socio-cultural consequence of categorization, and the ethical imperative in word choice; through the crop and magnification of imagery, the language of the body in composite anatomies; and in title bar and key word, the resolution of gender when a concept of body as conveyed in digital media and social forum affects our percept of and attitude towards it. Appropriating found sources and selectively utilizing photography taken with and text written by my own hand, I explore the porous boundary between secondary source and primary experience, surrogate persona and autobiographical self, public and private meaning.

 

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Copyright 2014-2015 Devon Schiller. All rights reserved.

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