Allison Berkoy: OK & Jessye McDowell: Superbia

November 3, 2022 to December 11, 2022

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 3, 4-6 pm.




Allison Berkoy: OK

Artist Allison Berkoy uses physical and electronic media to create videos, sculptural installations, interactive environments, and performances between humans and machines. With participatory, defamiliarizing, and absurdist themes, Berkoy’s works become stages for encounters that test the boundaries and etiquette of human-machine interaction. Based in Brooklyn, she is an Assistant Professor of Emerging Media Technology at New York City College of Technology, City University of New York (CUNY). 

Titled OK, this exhibition is a collection of new works by Berkoy, exploring destabilized sensory and perceptual processing. Featuring interactive video sculptures and electronic sculptural reliefs, OK includes selections from the following three series: START, YOUR BRAIN IS AN EGG YOLK IN AN EGG SHELL, and INCUBATE. The works set up a disorienting environment of image duplication and iteration, oscillating between stillness and activation. 

Encountering the interactive video sculptures of START elicits a “micro-show” triggered by human presence, code, and randomization.  Each show displays repetitive text, symbols, and abstract images, destabilized through electromagnetic manipulation of analog video signals. The sculptural reliefs of YOUR BRAIN IS AN EGG YOLK IN AN EGG SHELL present layers of plaster gauze, egg shells, and projection, set against backgrounds of cured egg yolk. Video loops project slowly morphing shadows, unstable video signals, and re-projections of the reliefs’ surfaces. In INCUBATE, egg shells set in plaster highlight how easily light and shadow manipulate appearance. OK asks its viewers to look, look again, and question what they are seeing.

Jessye McDowell: Superbia

Artist Jessye McDowell uses digital technology to create images and animations that explore cultural narratives surrounding technology. Based in Baltimore, she teaches at St. Mary's College of Maryland, where she is an Assistant Professor of Digital Art & Animation. This exhibition draws on two series of digital artworks by McDowell, Future Sets and Superbia, both of which combine art historical references with the emerging aesthetics of digital spaces.

Future Sets uses CGI technology to draw connections between seventeenth-century Dutch still life paintings and contemporary cultural questions surrounding technology and representation. The images bring the historical themes of the European still life into our own Anthropocene moment, in order to serve as virtual vanitas, or reminders of mortality, carrying warning to the human species. They also engage with our technologically mediated present moment, one saturated by virtual imagery, where we continue to ask questions of what is true, beautiful, natural and authentic. In these works, the artifice involved in the illusion is on display, but the images remain ambiguous: Are they real, or fake? Are they beautiful, banal, or horrible? Are the flowers in full bloom, or in decline? 

Superbia, McDowell's current body of work, extends these questions to draw connections between the historical era of European colonialization and our contemporary exploration and expansion of virtual worlds. Drawing on product photography, consumer electronics, and seventeenth-century still life, the work questions our current cultural narratives about technology.