Friday, October 9, 2009

Momentum Artist: Kent Sheely

Momentum Tulsa 2009 opens Saturday, October 10 with a big party of live music (COLOURMUSIC, Ghost, and Tribes of Soul) and fun. Tickets available in advance and at the door.

Curators selected 93 artworks by 66 artists for the exhibition. Also, three Spotlight artists will exhibit bodies of work, Nick Bayer, Dustin Boise, and Emily Kern. Intern Ashley Romano interviewed the artists to learn about their creative process. Watch for more profiles throughout the run of the exhibition, which remains on display at Living Arts, 307 E Brady, Tulsa, until October 24.

Kent Sheely, Tulsa
Is it Real?
Photograph, Game Screenshot
Q: What was your concept behind your work?
KS: My piece, Is It Real? is part of a series in which I have reconstructed several of my own photographs using objects from a video game. The idea is that I am taking images of objects in virtual space that mimic objects found in the original photographs, as imperfect replicas of the forms and ideas I originally captured on film. By seeing the original photograph and the mediated photograph next to one another, the viewer can compare and contrast the two images, noticing the areas in which the two overlap. Many of the original formal aspects have been carried over to the facsimile, even though the "filter" of the game engine has altered the image. Another way to look at the piece is to consider the way in which game graphics emulate the real world; the structures in the environment are imperfect replicas, but the player's brain can still engage spatially with them, gleaning information from the surroundings as if they were real.

Q: Explain the technique and/or process you used for the piece.
KS: I began by picking out some of my favorite photographs that I had taken. Using a game called Garry's Mod, a tool that lets the player manipulate game objects in a sandbox-like environment, I carefully arranged and colored game objects in front of a virtual camera. I tried to get the image on the screen to match the photographs as closely as possible, paying careful attention to detail. As soon as I liked what I saw, I captured the images to the hard drive and printed them out on photographic paper. Is It Real? is the best image that resulted from this process.

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