Parallel Reality: Shamus Clisset/Wang Yefeng @ Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College
Updated: Nov 18, 2018
September 11 - October 19, 2017
Opening Reception & Artist Talks: Thursday, September 14, 4:00 – 7:00 PM
The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury is pleased to announce the opening of a two-person new media art exhibition, Parallel Reality: Shamus Clisset and Wang Yefeng. These artists fabricate virtual worlds built with 3D computer software such as ZBrush, Blender, and After Effects. Their computer-generated works share a grotesque surrealism that delivers dark humor overlaid with apocalyptic pessimism and orgiastic materialism. Presenting mundane objects rendered in meticulous naturalism, they construct illusionistic fantasies in digital prints, video projections, and installations that warn against the human folly of costly and absurd undertakings. Both artists draw upon vast libraries of virtual objects, repurposing them for each project. The sense that “something has gone wrong” in their work reflects the collective anxiety of living in the modern world where we are inundated with constant threats of war, natural disasters, climate change, the demise of local cultures, and political and economic power conflicts. The slick appearance of the artificial world Clisset and Wang create also bespeaks the larger culture of new media that has been made commonplace through video games and cinematic animation, but these artists confront issues of human perception and the culture of fakeness in deliberate and thoughtful artworks.
Shamus Clisset (aka Fake Shamus) presents digital prints and videos in hyperrealism that combines abstract and concrete images. Every item in his work is fabricated by computer, yet, his images—even the abstract ones—possess a photographic realism that suggests evidence of their existence. Thus, superficiality is embraced by the realm of reality, while the illusion of a too perfect, too clean, fake world confirms that the genre of new media can never become real. A recurring motif in Clisset’s work is a golem-like figure, usually situated in a barren natural setting while holding a pickaxe or a beer can. Suggesting the dystopian post-apocalyptic Mad Max of 80s culture, these dominating male figures rendered in variations of texture and color explore frontiers and conquer territory. For this artist, new media, with its endless possibilities, is the new frontier. His most recent works emphasize abstraction through the deployment of automation, resulting in calculated distortions of shape and pattern. Clisset, a painter by training, has found freedom and fluidity in digital media.
Wang Yefeng presents 3D animation and installation, including a major work, [’Penthaus] (2017), a two-channel synchronized video installation in which the artist revisits the story of a drunken poet in A New Account of the Tales of the World, a fifth century Chinese collection of anecdotes and character sketches. Absurdity and carnality are delivered in this exercise in hybridity. Taking his cue from the Wei Jin period poet Liu Ling as he lay delirious and naked while claiming that the universe was his house and his house was his underpants, Wang fabricated a metaphorical virtual house in which a pig without a back limps hovers in and around a 3D pair of jeans. For Wang, the story possesses powerful insights into our relationship to the universe and resonates with his personal status as an expatriate who moved to the U.S. from China. The virtual house, populated with everyday objects and classical busts of women, is flooded, first with milk from a Starbucks coffee cup, then by a golden liquid spurting from the gorged eyes of the sculptures. In addition to Wang’s large video projection, he presents five cabinets containing flickering animations inside their drawers, enticing viewers to peer into each one. This integration of the ephemeral components of an installation with concrete elements is a hallmark of Wang’s oeuvre.
Shamus Clisset (aka FakeShamus, b. 1976, Huntington, NY) is a New York-based artist working in 3D media, including modeling, rendering, and animation. His pictures are a mash-up of pop culture imagery and frontier iconography—objects and environments culled from American suburbia and infused with the artist’s personal history and obsessions. Themes of violence, manifest destiny, apocalypse, and the contemporary wasteland are all refracted through the prism of digital culture. Clisset has presented his work locally, internationally, and online. Recent exhibitions include Postmasters Gallery; UMKC Gallery of Art, Dalmation X; NewHive.com; Spring/Break Art Show; GRIN Providence; and Dis Magazine. He is a 2014 NYFA fellow in digital art and teaches digital imaging and 3D media at Sarah Lawrence College. For more information about the artist, visit http://www.fakeshamus.com.
Wang Yefeng (aka Frank, b. 1984, Shanghai, China) is a new media artist who works across media, including Experimental 3D rendering and animation, video installation, virtual reality, and 3D printing. Wang left China for the United States after completing his BFA at Shanghai University in 2007, and received his MFA in Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. In 2013, he began developing the Digital Media Art program at Rhode Island College as an Assistant Professor. Wang is currently based in Providence and New York, and travels often to Shanghai, pursing a career in both East and West. He has extensive experience exhibiting in international venues, including Co-prosperity Sphere Culture Center (Chicago, IL); El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe (NM); Xuzhou Museum of Art (Xuzhou, China); HEREarts Center (NY, NY); The Museum of Luxun Academy of Art (Shenyang, China); Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago, IL); Hyde Park Art Center (Hyde Park, IL); Hong Kong Art projects Gallery (Hong Kong); Between Art Lab (Shanghai, China); Governors Island Art Fair (NY, NY); and Chi K11 Art Museum (Shanghai, China). Wang has been a resident artist and juried panel member of NARS Foundation in Brooklyn, NY. For more information about the artist, visit http://wangyefeng.com.
For more information, contact:
Gallery Director: Hyewon Yi YiH@oldwestbury.edu. (516) 876-2709 / 3056
Gallery Hours: Mondays: 12 – 5PM Tuesdays – Thursdays: 12 – 7PM And by appointment
Location: Amelie A. Wallace Gallery Campus Center, Main Level SUNY College at Old Westbury Route 107, Old Westbury, NY 11568