David Kennedy Cutler, Michael DeLucia & David Scanavino: Under Water
April 29 - June 10, 2017
Locust Projects, Miami
Locust Projects is pleased to present Under Water, a collaboration between New York-based artists David Kennedy Cutler, Michael DeLucia and David Scanavino. Their room-scale installation reinterprets a pastoral beach scene across two and three dimensions, with synthetic sun and moon rising over a pixelated ocean.
Evoking ambiguities of scale and dimension, the artists tile, wallpaper, and construct this environment with CNC-routed forms and computer-generated textures. The project’s distribution of labor reinforces a cross-media turbulence, where each artist contributes elements marked by their distinct, individual practices: DeLucia carves a giant tire, a surrogate for the sun, that emerges from a wave of plywood construction; Scanavino’s pattern of blue tiles hint at the cresting ocean; while a repeating motif of Cutler’s face, representative of the audience, directly confronts the impending wave. The scene as a whole is caught at the apex of its potential, suspended in time while pointing towards its possible aftermaths.
Under Water plays with the artifice of representation in the digital age; the approximation of a copy to its original. To this end, the artists both embrace and resist what they call “post-truth materiality,” a phenomenon—largely catalyzed by digital technologies—where objects and materials are no longer necessarily what they appear. This thinking complements Austrian theorist Peter Weibel’s notion of the post-media condition where he lends distinct consideration to the computer, what he terms “the universal machine,” as the ultimate mimetic tool: It serves as a surrogate that can simulate the “abundance of possibilities” of any medium. At the center of Under Water is the question surrounding the instability of medium and material today as a direct byproduct of digital culture. This comes through particularly in how the artists locate the current topographies of creative enterprise:
...where cheap images govern more and more space; where architecture begins to look more like the renderings used to speculate upon; where everything is under perpetual construction; where imaging, rendering, and digital proliferation have radically shifted our notion of the landscape.
The project’s collaged scenery approximates an image editing or CAD workspace, where shapes, images, and textures intersect with the impulse and urgency of copy-and-paste terms. Through this work, the artists provoke an understanding of physical materials to be as shifting and unsettled as their digital counterparts. Under Water is a virtual landscape that imports its digitality into material space, subsumed within the fractured and multi-hyphenate divide between reality and its representation.