For one to truly be modern is a difficult accomplishment now days. Or, I should say “contemporary”—see? Already we’re tripping over diction. Word choice is the most important it’s ever been, whether being restricted by digital translation or trying to describe the progression of new media works of Alexandra Gorczynski.
Now, you may have heard about net art, and maybe even the “monograph”—the newest attempt at declaring ownership over a piece of digital art. Without a doubt, the ease of duplication and appropriation online gives headaches to the millionaires trying to use the imposed commodification of contemporary art to add a hot tub to their Scrooge McDuck-style infinity pools.
"Well...it's certainly more interesting to look at than the gold market."
Fortunately, you can flip that sad face emoticon to the left with Gorczynski’s work—some of her newest work is quite real. What’s interesting is that this return to tactility is a result of having delved so deeply into net art.
Keen on discovering more about Gorczynski, I sauntered over to the Zhulong Gallery—a new space in Dallas run by Aja Martin that could already and very easily be declared the king of new media art in the region.
The best thing about carrying a camera and taking notes about art is that people automatically think you’re a Very Important Person, (Read: press. Everyone loves free press.) and that gets the director of the gallery to eagerly shepherd the artist over. Following suit, I eagerly asked about the prints in front of us. Obviously, her digital past had influenced her—something she readily acknowledged as enhancing her career. Gorczynski started out as most artists do: traditionally. (At the notoriously traditional Rhode Island School of Design, no less.) Then, acting appropriately for a rebelling twentysomething, she completely switched over to the digital world, flourishing in GIF after video after projection to flesh out the countless levels of production this digital world offers. But there was always a nagging feeling that it just wasn’t enough—there was a missing piece. That last key to make the work assuredly finished.
It was another Dallas Design District night—wine flowing out as the aged patrons filled in. Screens flashed GIFs of paint splashes superimposed over digital corruptions as inebriated viewers reveled in the light of the screens peering out behind giclée prints. I’m all too familiar with both the bombastic antics of net art and the Dallas art scene itself, but this approach of combining digital with physical was refreshing. To see a prominent artist travel from one extreme, to another, to finally land in the middle of the road was comforting. Not to say that the relics of pure, digital media weren't comforting to see, especially in Dallas, but there was evidence of that artistic journey that left me finding myself repeatedly in front of the combination pieces.
I still don't know how I feel about this scene.
Is this the future of art—combining the physical and digital as a cyborg of progression? I’m certainly in no position to say so with authority. In this proto- era, we can’t say for certain where the art world will go. Perhaps—once again—it’s the adventure that makes all the difference. After all, Gorczynski probably never thought she would have gone through such a zigzag path. Maybe that's something for you to answer: do you think this is truly the face of avant-garde fine art? Could this be the future?
Andy Rolfes is the Project Manager at the WAAS Gallery, along with being a contributor for Method 7 Magazine and an original writer for Join The Studio. He is steadily growing accustomed to having graduated with a BFA.