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Snow Yunxue Fu Ryan Whittier Hale Katie Torn Siebren Versteeg

Brain Scratch Curated by Chris Romero October 17 - November 21, 2014 Opening Reception: Fri. October 17, 7 - 9PM NURTUREart Gallery 56 Bogart St., Brooklyn, NY 11206

Ryan Whittier Hale. Untitled, 2014. Framed inkjet print.

Brain Scratch by Chris Romero We do not perceive the world as it actually is, but as the brain computes it most probably to be.

drous strange” is also explored within the work of each artist in the exhibition.

John Smythies

Combining fantasy and mannerist aesthetics, Ryan Whittier Hale’s digital photographs and sculptures question the emotional capacity of artificial beings. Hale depicts desolate yet tranquil environments populated with indeterminate humanoids. Their delicate bodies lay on the edge of organic and synthetic. Although posed with dramatic gesture and idealized form, the smooth plastic skin and vacant expression of each android-like being exposes a failed attempt at true human intimacy and empathy. In this way Hale questions our identity and behavior as we continue to move deeper into the labyrinths of virtuality.

Space, Time and Consciousness

Brain Scratch observes an urge to interpret and find comfort in a world where an increasing amount of time is spent in virtual space. The exhibition title conjures a peculiar notion: it alludes to fervently scratching the head out of curiosity, to the point where scalp and bone are broken to reach the brain. The result is an etching that alters perception. The featured artists interpret a new way of being, one where reality and virtuality have converged, mutating perspectives of time, space, and body. The way the mind is hardwired has changed, Brain Scratch comments on what is, what may become. The exhibition finds Edwin Abbott’s novel Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions as a primary inspiration. Although the narrative, about a two-dimensional square swept into a threedimensional world, comments on mathematics and Victorian culture, it also holds another implication. The novel is a reflection on the limited capabilities of the mind. Abbott’s reference to a line from Hamlet, “O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!” makes this clear. The “won-

Emerging from Katie Torn’s animations are totems comprised of relics from consumer culture. Utilizing tools commonly employed in Hollywood films and commercials, Torn crafts hyper-real environments made of figures ranging from My Little Pony to bodiless Barbie dolls. The island-woman hybrid of Dream House appears as a landscape in which consumer debris continually accumulates, generating as if from thin air. Although the island contains elements of pop, it remains dystopian, surrounded by nothing but empty space. A monument to desire and waste, Torn comments on the value placed in materiality.


Ryan Whittier Hale, Untitled, 2014. Framed inkjet print, 57� x 82�.

The biomorphic and otherworldly installations of Snow Yunxue Fu address humanity’s confrontation with the metaphysical as manifested through digital forms. The Gap 3 is a window into a parallel dimension that stimulates both consciousness and space. Elements of traditional Chinese landscape painting are referenced as Fu creates expressive topographies that exude imagination and contemplation. Conjuring spaces of billowing light and exotic matter, Fu’s hypnotizing and trance-inducing environments feel mysteriously familiar. As if depicting something organic within the body, or outward beyond Earth, the depths of The Gap 3 are truly unfathomable. Siebren Versteeg’s algorithmically generated paintings meld computerized and artistic process into one. The paintings of the Sequential Array series are created through custom software that determines elements including brush movement, coloration, and viscosity. Grappling with agency and chance, the series alludes to a passing of time. The program could paint endlessly, but in the exhibition Versteeg selects ten compositions to print, stretch onto canvas, and bring into the real world. Minute idiosyncrasies appear in each consecutive painting – new lines, paint drips, and strokes – but the beginning and end of the series contains an uncanny resemblance. Impressionistic in style, the paintings comment on sameness, completion, and mark making.


Brain Scratch moves deeper into a new reality, scratching an irrepressible itch. For the artists of this exhibition the purpose is not to gain a relief or a complete understanding of the world. Rather, now that the physical and digital are sewn together the artists pick at the stiches in response to a strange moment in time. This Page: Katie Torn, Dream House, 2013. Real-time 3D animation, projector, computer. (detail view) Next Page: Katie Torn, Dream House, 2013. Real-time 3D animation, projector, computer.

Siebren Versteeg, Sequential Array (series), 2014. Ten algorithmically generated image printed on canvas, approximately 19” x 27” each. 

Snow Yunxue Fu, The Gap 3, 2014. Projector, installation, computer.

Snow Yunxue Fu. The Gap 3 (detail), 2014. Projector, installation, computer.

NURTUREart Non-Profit, Inc is a 501(c)3 New York State licensed federally tax-exempt charitable organization founded in 1997 by George J. Robinson. NURTUREart receives support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, including member item funding from City Council Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso, the New York City Department of Education, and the New York State Council on the Arts. NURTUREart is also supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council of Northern Ireland, Harold and Colene Brown Foundation, Con Edison, Czech Center New York, Edelman, the Francis Greenburger Charitable Fund of the Jewish Communal Fund, the Golden Rule Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Walentas Family Foundation, and the Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Foundation.

We receive in-kind support from Lagunitas, Societe Perrier, Tekserve, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. NURTUREart is grateful for significant past support from the Liebovitz Foundation and the Greenwall Foundation, and to the many generous individuals and businesses whose contributions have supported us throughout our history. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the artists who have contributed works of art to past benefits—our continued success would be impossible without your generosity.

Brooklyn, NY. October 2014 / Book Design: Marco Antonini and Ido Michaeli / Editing/Copyediting: NURTUREart Non Profit Inc. / All Images, courtesy the artists.

















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Brain Scratch  

eBook Published in conjunction with "Brain Scratch," curated by Chris Romero, featuring artists Snow Yunxue Fu, Ryan Whittier Hale, Katie To...

Brain Scratch  

eBook Published in conjunction with "Brain Scratch," curated by Chris Romero, featuring artists Snow Yunxue Fu, Ryan Whittier Hale, Katie To...