“Deep Learning”, Hayal Pozanti’s solo show, currently on display at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield Connecticut, features work related to technology and the human experience. Robert D. Hof’s article “Deep Learning” (MIT Technology Review, April 23,2013) is quoted in the catalog: Deep Learning in reference to “software [that] attempts to mimic the activity in layers of neurons in the neocortex”.
Pozanti employs her own alphabet of 31 shapes named “Instant Paradise” to create paintings and digital animations. Her new, large scale rectangular paintings are the same proportions of a smartphone screen but blown up to almost room sized canvases.
“Sixty Seven” – 2015
Courtesy the artist, Jessica Silverman Gallery San Fransisco and the Aldrich Museum
The paintings are all based on source data that is documented in the curatorial signage. “Sixty Seven” has “Source data: milliseconds it takes for the human brain to form a microexpression”.
Pozanti generates images through a process of selecting and overlapping shapes from her alphabet. The more the images are repeated over time the more recognizable they become. This is similar to the way Deep Learning software operates. All of these canvases were hand painted. Instead of using a computer to create these images, the artist is generating the work in reference to the software.
In the center of the gallery, video screens are suspended from the ceiling above eye level. Their placement and size are like an airport terminal or waiting room. Each screen is playing one of Pozanti’s digital videos featuring images generated from the “Instant Paradise” alphabet. The videos have a sound track of abstract poetry developed by assigning the shapes sounds.
Hayal Pozanti’s work relates to mathematics in two ways. The images have been created using algorithmic rules to explore the permutations of possibilities combining 31 distinct shapes. The paintings and videos are also an expression of computer’s ability to mimic human processes, as well as, how humans react to the technology that is now part of everyday life.
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. Since its inception Aldrich has been committed to the collection and display of modern art, including some of the most important work in the areas of Minimalism, Conceptual, and Geometric art. The founder Larry Aldrich acquired the work of Eva Hess, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, and many others. For the 50th anniversary a two part exhibition has been installed in the galleries over the past year. The curators have created a connection between the historical artwork from the early years of the museum to contemporary art. Artists were asked to respond to the work from the 1960’s and 1970’s.
David Scanavino’s site-specific room-sized installation “Imperial Texture” is the artist’s dialog with the work of Richard Artschwager. Artschwager is well known for his use of formica to make geometric forms that have the same shape as everyday items but can not actually be used as such. His sculpture “Pyramid Object” from 1967 was displayed near Scanavino’s installation.
“Imperial Texture” 2014
Courtesy of the artist and the museum
“Imperial Texture” consists of a grid of 1 by 1 foot square linoleum tiles that have been installed into the gallery at an angle so that they come off the floor and climb the walls. The tiling pattern was developed using computer software to make a digital model. This fact alone would make this a mathematically interesting piece. But what I find mathematically inspirational about this environment is the impact of a 2-D grid being retrofit into the 3-D rectangular box. The traditional gallery space has a multicolored seemingly random patterned floor, that has been shifted leaving part of the floor uncovered. Scanavino’s decision to place the grid at an angle has created series of right triangles with their hypotenuses running along the lines where the walls meet the floors. “Imperial Texture” gives the museum visitor an altered sense of space. The linoleum floor we are accustomed to seeing on the floors of schools, stores and other industrial and institutional settings has shifted out of it’s practical floor covering purpose.