The Future is Eclectic

    Six different perspectives on a unique artistic vision gracefully collide in the University Art Gallery’s “New Visual Arts Faculty 2006” exhibition featuring work from recent additions to the UCSD visual arts department. Displaying pieces like life-sized portraits of shirtless poster boys and an “adults-only” video clip, artists Amy Adler, Jordan Crandall, Teddy Cruz, Ricardo Dominguez, Natalie Jeremijenko and Brett Stalbaum explore novel approaches to modern art and introduce innovative perceptions of its purpose.

    University Art Gallery runs through March 25

    One such display by Adler captures the raw human state, amplifying reality through representation by augmenting her photography with a variety of media. A poignant series of five self-portraits titled “Hotel Room” and a piece called “Jeff Burton Box Covers” present photography’s uncanny ability to capture emotion.

    Using perhaps a more subtle approach, media theorist Crandall addresses the current social climate of obsession with security through his art with video installments edited using military motion-tracking software. The piece, titled “Drive,” explores the nature of fear and the human inclination to see and be seen.

    One of the more standard pieces in the collection clearly indicates the architectural roots of artist Cruz. Within his collection, Cruz uses photo constructions to juxtapose infrastructural aspects of the radically different sides of the border between California and Mexico. His collection, ”Tijuana Workshop,” explores the subtle similarities between the two seemingly separate spheres. Cruz constructed one exceptionally memorable installment with ordinary adhesive tape — perhaps an attempt to emulate the temporary nature of the structures pictured in the work.

    “Tijuana builds itself from the waste of San Diego,” Cruz said. “Our leftovers create a micro-infrastructure which rebuilds itself there every year.” Cruz represents this translation within each of his pieces.

    In a completely contrasting arena, Dominguez, also known as the father of “hacktivism,” presents his work through nonviolent protests via the Internet. By blocking entrance to Web sites through virtual sit-ins, Dominguez uses cyberspace as his canvas for civil disobedience. One of his most engaging pieces in the exhibit is the Monopoly-esque “Border Game” that serves as social commentary about immigrant life on the Southern Californian border.

    Jeremijenko’s exceptionally unconventional contribution to the show delves into the medium of film. “Suicide Box,” created after the imposition of heavy surveillance in high profile tourist areas after Sept. 11 presents footage of the Golden Gate Bridge and the individuals who committed suicide by jumping off of it within 100 days of the terrorist attacks. The irony of the suicides that coincide with efforts to maintain safety through surveillance, like many pieces in her repertoire, questions the necessity of some of these measures.

    Investigating photo-imaging technology through one of the most remarkable items on display, Stalbaum, whose medium is digital imagery, presents a diagram of 10 kilometers of a computationally devised wilderness trail. With his virtual hiker, Stalbaum surveys terrain using U.S. Geological maps to create safe hiking and walking trails. Much like the work of his colleagues, Stalbaum’s seemingly scientific and artistic endeavor questions the lenient and fluid boundaries of art.

    Through their incredibly diverse backgrounds and choices of media, the artists’ approaches toward their subjects boldly push traditional artistic limitations. The exhibit reveals the ingenuity of UCSD’s new faculty members, whose creativity transcends disciplinary bounds and forges new pathways into the definition and purpose of modern art.

    The “New Visual Arts Faculty 2006” exhibit will be on display at the University Art Gallery through March 25.

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