The Nasher Museum presented an exhibition of four contemporary works in the Incubator, as part of The New Galleries. The Fleeting Image: Four Contemporary Artists featured work by artists who work in a variety of mediums and share an interest in the impermanence of images. Their artistic strategies are investigatory and through their paintings, photographs and prints, they examine this condition and the very nature of visual perception.
“The proliferation of electronic screens has made visual imagery an intrinsic, ubiquitous and ultimately ephemeral part of everyday life,” said Marshall N. Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “We are bombarded by images that appear and disappear with increasing frequency, leaving few memorable ones to linger in our minds. This phenomenon of visual transience has long had a tremendous impact on artists.”
In the works of German painter Sigmar Polke and American artist Sherrie Levine, the image is literally fleeting. Polke’s Transparent #7 is from a series of double-sided paintings created in the late 1980s with opaque and transparent resin on semi-transparent fabric. Through the use of these materials, Polke deliberately introduces a constantly shifting image that has been compared to watching multiple television channels at once. Dark Mauve Mirrors by multi-media artist Levine generates similarly unstable imagery. Twelve monochromatic mauve reflective surfaces display a momentary and sequential image, establishing an ambiguous and transitory relationship between object and viewer.
Photographer Sara VanDerBeek and installation artist Kathryn Andrews conceptually explore the ephemerality and transmutability of images. VanDerBeek’s A Composition for Detroit is a four-part photograph of whitewashed glass panes punctuated with images of the ailing city. She simultaneously captures and obscures scenes of Detroit, emphasizing its own fleeting nature. Andrews is interested in the complex relationship between material packaging, the presentation of advertising imagery and the media. The polished presentation of the bow in Gift epitomizes the artist’s ongoing commentary on the seductive nature of consumer-driven messaging and its ability to elicit desire.
The Fleeting Image: Four Contemporary Artists was organized by Marshall N. Price, Ph.D., Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.