January 16 – March 9
In each of these two solo exhibitions, Chris Coy and Justin Berry each draw heavily from contemporary culture as influenced by gaming and the internet as well as other digital media. The works ask questions about existence as mitigated through media and about the screen as a metaphor for transitional space. Both draw heavily on art historical ideas about the sublime—Coy through form, and Berry through the pastoral.
In his exhibition Real Sex, Chris Coy is presenting paintings, photographs, and a video. His work is an exploration of tensions he felt between his two natures as a Mormon teen—that of the spiritual purity he was supposed to aspire to and the physiological man he was becoming. His paintings are made of Chroma Key Green paint normally used as “green screen” material for easy video editing. They are comprised of grids of the pixel squares of digital media that have been distorted by pornographic imagery masked by the grid itself. They are at once a sort of censorship and an exposure of carnality and eroticism. Photographs of blinds are stills from his film Barnrazer and tempt the viewer to voyeuristically decipher what’s behind. The horizontal form of the blinds recalls analog television as a pre-digital mode of presenting the Hyperreal. Photographic prints made in Photoshop serve as digital scenic backdrops for some potential action.
“I remember the childhood anticipation that filled our family’s Sunday nights as we gathered around the television for The Disney Sunday Movie. This weekly dose of communal entertainment appended earlier church services and my young
mind merged the two into a continuum of sanctified experience—King Benjamin’s address echoing through the television set in full technicolor glory while Cinemax layed in wait like a Gadianton in the shadows.”
Chris Coy was raised in Salt Lake City. He received a BFA from Brigham Young University, an MFA from University of Southern California. He currently lives in Las Vegas, NV. His work has shown at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Sundance Film Festival, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, the Netherlands Media Art Institute, and numerous international art festivals and exhibitions.
“In Active/Idle Justin Berry is presenting three new pieces, one digital performance in the form of a projection, and two sculptural video pieces. The digital performance involves the artist playing the video game Skyrim in God-Mode and then walking away, allowing the game’s idle animation to continue playing. Day and night pass by in virtual time, while a pair of wolves endlessly stalk and attack the player’s avatar to no avail.
An idle animation is the animation that happens in a video game when the player ceases to play. It is usually an animation of the avatar doing something to show that they are bored, annoyed, frustrated, or impatient. One of the most famous idle animations is of Sonic the Hedgehog tapping his foot and staring at the player. Idle animations inevitably break through any sense of immersion that we might have in a game, reminding us that we are outside looking in at a fantasy world.
In the two video/sculptures presented in this show, Berry transforms idle and active animations into recurring Gifs, presented on older CRT monitors. One video shows Mega Man’s pet dog endlessly laying about being bored, while the other shows Sonic, ever impatient to move, moving forever and ever in a dizzying loop. Both videos are visible through mirror/glass panels hovering above them, held in place with studio lighting equipment. The set-up is reminiscent of the traditional arcade box, though all of its mechanisms are left visible and exposed.”
Justin Berry is based in Brooklyn, NY. He received a BFA from TUFTS University after studying at the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston. His MFA is from the Art Institute of Chicago. He has exhibited his work extensively in New York City, Brooklyn, London, Chicago, Houston, and elsewhere.