Remote connections. Friends and relatives, isolated from one another, have dinner together from their solitary kitchens, mediated by screens. Teachers at universities and public schools meet with students in virtual classrooms. Corporate offices are replaced with fiber optic cables, modems, laptops, and video conferences. The divide between the professional class and service workers has deepened – delivery drivers risk their health at work so that people with money don’t have to go to the grocery store. Even before Covid-19, simple human interactions like standing on a city street and hailing a taxi were disappearing. Now taxis have all but disappeared.
Global Pandemic has accelerated the atomization of society at “warp speed” and increased the distances between us, further normalizing the mediation of experience by technology.
In contrast, artists have long known that the right kind of distance from a subject can bring us closer to experience and feeling. Through abstraction, manipulation of materials, attention to detail, and selective omissions, these artists free themselves from pictorial and sculptural realism to give their work deeper emotional power. This kind of remote connection stands in opposition to technological atomization. It requires direct physical engagement with both subject and object.
The works in Remote examine landscape, memory, and the physicality of the body through abstraction, distortion, and attention to lucid detail. Byron Kim, inspired by a poem, discards human form and isolates skin; bruised, discolored, carefully rendered by staining and rubbing. Tammie Rubin transforms bromeliad ‘air plants’ into porcelain and pigment, simultaneously altering their shapes and creating a record of a time and place. Ashes77’s paintings document sites of violence and transformation, from the Ayotzinapa massacre to rural Pennsylvania, that emphasize mood, color, and symbolic detail.