By TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For 21st Century Media
What is reality? Three artists display their works showing parts of the worlds they inhabit in “Imaginary Reality” at Main Line Art Center. They ask viewers, “Do you see what we see?” And a conversation begins.
Each artist creates a reality that’s imagined and fictional, but is being presented as reality “in the unique language of each of them, using a visual language they each created,” said Amie Potsic, executive director. “It’s all about how we perceive and create reality, and communicate our identity and who we are.”
It’s also a way to start conversations about art, about what the art means, and about what people see and experience.
In addition, the showcase is the 10th annual Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition honoring the board member and teaching artist. New this year: the awarding of the Meyer Family Award for Contemporary Art to the artists in the exhibit (the award includes a solo exhibition and $1,000 and will be given annually).
Potsic said the focus of the exhibit also was inspired by the fact that the center is now offering a digital media program, including classes using photography, animation, iPad drawing, and more.
The artists chosen for the exhibit “create an intellectual dialogue and conversation around how we use digital media and traditional media,” she said.
Tim Portlock’s exhibit pieces are large scale prints from photos of Las Vegas. He uses 3D gaming and other special effects software to create fictional landscapes and realities.
“There are so many familiar elements, but with fictional elements and imagined effects,” Potsic said. “They’re gorgeous prints in person.”
Nic Coviello’s work integrates digital photos and media with traditional textural gestural painting, she said.
“You have these amazing black and white photos that he places into large landscapes that are painted and somewhat abstract in their nature. He crosses the line, going between and among mediums,” she said.
Jennie Thwing’s work involves stop motion animation. Her installation includes a large scale projection of her video, “My Black Hole,” still images on the wall nearby, and a display of part of set where the video was made, Potsic said.
Her work utilizes technology but acknowledges traditional mediums.
“Jennie’s work is so completely fun and whimsical,” Potsic said.
Thwing’s video developed from her desire to create a room that’s constantly changing. Though she sometimes is inspired by nature and scenes, most of her work comes from trying to recreate moments and feelings, to create atmosphere, and to reference her life experiences in a metaphorical way.
Thwing (online at www.jenniethwing.com) has been using stop animation in her films and videos for about seven years.
“It’s a great way to make things look like they’re coming alive,” she said.
For instance, in one part of the film, a room is created in which a pillow on a chair moves in and out to the sounds of breathing.
“There are lots of moving objects, lots of things happening that you couldn’t do with film,” she said. “All these impossible things are happening that can only happen with stop motion.”
She really likes the process of creating videos because “it’s not about creating one single perfect object. That was my dissatisfaction with painting,” she said. “I’d obsess over one scene or one picture. With stop motion and film, it happens over time so you don’t think about it as a whole object until it’s finished.”
The process is what she enjoys most of all. For the video, Thwing built the room, inlaid a window, and had to figure out, among other things, how to do the framing, how to light the space, what colors would be used.
“The whole process of making something is really enjoyable and what comes out of it is what comes out of it,” she said. “I like making things. It feels like it’s the same thing as when you’re a kid and you can play.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Imaginary Reality”
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fri.-Sun. through April 30.
WHERE: Main Line Art Center, 746 Panmure Road, Haverford, PA 19041.
INFO.: Visit www.mainlineart.org or call (610) 525-0272.