In 1998 we planned microwave as an exhibition in three parts: microwave, one (September-November 1999) microwave, two (September-November 2000); microwave, three (September- November, 2001). Repetition is essential to microwave.
The triumph of high technology deserves a modest response; serene, intimate and by hand, art positively digital. As the sponsor of the cycle of exhibitions, Tribeca Technologies, a broadband wireless provider, has been a constant signal. Computers are microwave compatible. Being able to get rid of thousands of repetitive tasks in a click allows us to give time and attention to minuscule surprises, to focus on the closest and most insignificant reality.
The annual edition of microwave has been an opportunity to document the emergence of a new attitude. That's why microwave spanned three years, not three weeks: slow art. The intention was to record signals in motion during the last 36 months.
Many thanks to the generous and enthusiastic individuals, galleries, curators, critics, collectors who provided their precious advice and collaboration:
Barbara Berzack, Gary Berzack, Peter Blum, Angel Castano, D'Amelio Terras, Adam Fuss, Sandra Gering, Caren Golden, Mixed Greens, Hales Gallery, Tim Griffin, Joseph Helman, Robert Hobbs and Jean Crutchfield, Michael Horowitz, Todd Hosfelt, Paivi Kiiski-Finel, Edda Jónsdóttir, Nicole Klagsbrun, Wynn Kramarsky, Kim Levin, Mary-Kay Lombino, Barbara A. MacAdam, Marco Maggi, Dominique Nahas, Richard Nazario, Toby Oppenheimer, Janet Phelps, Patricia C. Phillips, Lois Plehn, Postmasters, Christa Schübbe, Holly Solomon, Brian Wallace, Linda Weintraub, Peter Young.
*Concurrently with microwave, three and part of the Tri-Cal State drawing exhibition,
The University Art Museum, California State, Long Beach presents:
By Hand: Pattern, Precision and Repetition in Contemporary Drawing
(August 28 - October14, 2001) organized by Mary-Kay Lombino, UAM curator.
Mary-Kay Lombino writes in the press release for the show:
"In a recent article published in ARTnews, entitled, The Microwave, Barbara MacAdam notes a current trend in drawing and suggests that "many artists today are producing labor-intensive works that are almost impossible to decipher" She identifies a host of artists, many of whom are featured in by Hand "who are committed to a strange yet venerable genre best called micro-art"'
Variation is an essential part of microwave.One of the rules for microwave was not to repeat any of the artists in the three shows. A pervasive thread running through the works shows a concern for the density that is often concealed by Minimalism and the tension between simplicity and obsessive detail, the macro and the micro.
microwave, one: 1999
John Andrews, Piot Brehmer, Jacob El Hanani, Simon Frost, Amanda Guest, Robert Jack, Marco Maggi, John Morris, Ragna Róbertsdóttir
"No pretext, no effect, no message: microwave doesn't strive to classify a new movement. However, it identifies an international group of artists who deliberately reduce their movements and expressive media. These artists imperceptibly move their fingertips to create works of precision and minimal displacement in a quasi-monochromatic context: syntheses and syntactics that recall the reductionism of genetic maps or binary codes. (…) But, this intimacy doesn't require mouse or keyboard, it is a dialogue of fingertips: art positively digital. The works stand on the borderline between drawing, knitting and writing. A meticulous discipline of the close-up at the antipodes of the instantaneous and the remote control." (in catalog, microwave, one, 123 Watts, 1999)
microwave, two: 2000
Diana Cooper, Marti Cormand, Gary Gissler, Kelly Kacynski, Wes Mills, Elena del Rivero, Stephen Sollins, Julianne Swartz, Daniel Zeller
"microwave, one was a 'stop sign' imposing deceleration, prescribing short-sightedness as the best answer to globalization. microwave, two introduces new norms of traffic. It reduces the scale again by incorporating vacuity as a new communication protocol. microwave, two presents a circulation of containers without contents, works that carry the simultaneous hope and failure of communication."
(in catalog, microwave, two, 123 Watts, 2000)
microwave, three 2001
Words are no longer adequate to describe current phenomena with accuracy. They have been superseded by the most contemporary reality: words are the disease of the information era. On a daily basis, 90% of the present description of the universe is done with mathematical signs. There is no vocabulary yet accessible to the majority about the most recent knowledge relating to micro and macro occurrences. Meanwhile, with intense attention, patience and precision, microwave, three documents the extinction of words: erasing logos….
The artists in microwave, three set up and observe various processes of fragmentation and erosion of information: Stefana McClure, Davide Cantoni and Jonathan Callan build images by removing: scratching, perforating or burning the surface of the paper, making the contend of every image barely legible; Teo Gonzalez and Gehrard Mayer both invent sets of arbitrary rules only to apply them with scientific rigor and push them to the edge of dissolution. Nancy Picot Riegelman attempts to record the most intimate physical phenomena through series of imperceptible thin lines, Jean shin builds precarious architectures of blank rolodex cards where every trace of information has been erased or not yet existed. The artists in m3 practice a slow striptease revealing the essence of every communication protocol.
She is interested in language and translation. Using a systematic methodology, she traces each frame of subtitles from a movie on a background of graphite or wax transfer paper. As the transcribed text builds-up, the colored surface of the transfer paper gets slowly eroded: the text is completely blurred and reduced to a soft line at the bottom of a rectangular monochromatic screen. As each line of subtitles is carefully measured, the size of the work itself is determined by the format of the monitor, from regular TV screen to pocket size DVD player. These linguistic palimpsests have the very un-paper like glow of high tech video monitors.
He 'punches' books and photographs, squirts silicon on objects and scratches photographs. He also builds by removing. His work deals with the transmission and dissolution of information. Images and books are texturized and distorted through punching, a process of tapping and pounding with small tools, and through scratching the emulsion of photographs to make fine white lines. Information is fragmented, eroded and slowed down as attacked by a mutating virus.
His burn drawings are made by transferring images from the New York Times onto tracing paper and then using sunlight through a magnifying glass to burn them. His work addresses the disintegration of information.The powerful effect implied by the News has been reduced to the same precarious frayed material, wether it's a man shot
"Lives are exposed, made, lost, all documented, all devoured in the knowledge that today's news will be irrelevant tomorrow morning." (Davide Cantoni)
He operates a tight game of 'drops on grids'. The goal is to quantify and control the chemical reaction of enamel paint on acrylic surfaces and to observe the visual effect of the dissolution of a glossy medium on a flat support. Feint pencil grids are covered with individual drops of enamel paint seeming blips of information in DNA lab tests. Each drop dries differently, making the grid flash with unplanned optical pulses. Drops and grids are combined and the rules are pushed to their extreme point of dissolution: micro drops on micro grid, drops so close and small they almost disappear into each other.
Nancy Picot Riegelman
The minimalist rectangle is the stage for micro-performances she generates through her fingertips. On top of monochromatic rectangles, she traces thin white lines, sometimes solid, sometimes broken at intervals. These anorexic pencil lines record minute physical fluctuations, sensations felt in her eyes, chest, fingers, hips. Private performance is publicly enacted through trace marks on paper. The autographic gestures, distillations of light and color compose subtle contraptions to record intimacy.
His drawings are the result of a self-imposed and arbitrary set of rules. All of them are executed with drafting ink pens and stencils. The paper used is always of the same format, lines can not cross, only lines may be generated not dots. These highly structured networks have the appearance of computer graphics or video games. In the drawings he made for microwave, Gehrard Mayer explores the boundaries of his own criteria. The elliptical lines are reduced to almost dots, density is intensified all over the page to generate rhythms and patterns recalling the image of a sonogram.
She uses Rolodex cards as buliding blocks for complex architectural networks- precarious, yet perfectly balanced. The cards are blank, information has been erased or never existed: inaccessible archives? blank memory?