Digital Adaptations

OCAD University Graduate Gallery
205 Richmond St. West, Toronto
Jan 10-19, 2014

"Engaging with images far exceeds the boundaries of the frame and involves a process of visualization that cannot be constrained (the mental space of the viewer) nor should it be." - Ron Burnett

Images are important tools for human communication. Making images of things we see around us is one of humanity's oldest cultural practices and the one that often defines an important stage in our cognitive evolution as a species: the birth of symbolic thought. Through this practice it became possible to make concretely visible what could be pictured by the mind (whether memories of things seen or the products of imagination) through a likeness created out of the materials at one's disposal.

Representing something through an image can be carried out in an infinite number of ways, depending on the choices of the artist, but an image's success as a representation depends on the viewer's individual judgment. This judgment involves not only vision but also imaginative extrapolations on vision that are unique to one's particular experiences and cultural context - an active mental process Burnett calls 'visualization.'

This interpretation and evaluation of images is a complex and poorly understood process of generating meaning by expanding upon what is seen. What are the qualities of a successful representation and how does it lead the viewer to interpret the image as plausible? The work in "Digital Adaptations" can be seen as an attempt to picture this process - as a pictorial metaphor for the role of visualization in seeing, interpreting and making representative images.

Each piece begins from an image - a photograph taken of the surface of a found object. Through various material translations, the picture is extended beyond the boundaries of the image into an imagined larger composition that incorporates the photograph seamlessly. How is plausibility achieved in representing beyond the limited field of the image?

The above images show each painting in the exhibition, the objects from which they were derived, and the arrangement of the exhibition as a whole, with each painting positioned directly across from its corresponding object.