Tim Cross, Cable Griffith, Rob Rhee, and Susan Robb
DIGITAL ≈ SOFT, December 2016
Digital ≈ Soft is a group show that is built around a slightly incongruous title in which each word, respectively, connotes a certain type of plasticity that conjures up very different mental images and ways of making. Hailing from Seattle, the four Digital Soft artists demonstrate a way of working that, while conceptually informed by contemporary digital realities and a booming Seattle tech economy, is also strongly rooted in “place” and the geographic uniqueness of the Pacific Northwest. While their work carries strong visual references to digital aesthetics, and in some cases digital process, the end results are largely manifested through the use of materials and process that are employed with a reverence for nature, craft, tactility, process and relational constructs.
Tim Cross’s large-scale acrylic transfers are glitched analog surfaces of past/future space outposts, cybernetic trees, and other geometric musings. As Cross describes: “I’m striving to take my studies about the past and carry “sightlines” from where we have been and project them into the future. This has led me to consider things like the colonizing of space and terra-forming new planets and to speculate about how we might carry our human stories out into the galaxy, re-creating ourselves in our own image as we grow and evolve into our future selves.”
Cable Griffith’s paintings are built off of a grid, employing a Shibori dye technique that uses the canvas as its own resist. This internal structure references the pixel, the byte, and the relationship of a part to its whole. Using a basic set of marks and arrangements, a more complex system of patterns emerge, creating an interplay between constants and variables.
In Rob Rhee’s ongoing investigation, Occupations of Uninhabited Space, he cultivates his work by growing gourds into fabricated steel cages. Rhee describes his unlikely material: “Like every living thing, it does not want to be phenotypical. It wants to actualize, individuate, beat the bounds.” The resulting phantasmagoric objects have a strange mutualism expressed through the physical coalescence of the gourd and the cage it occupies.
Susan Robb’s hands-on DIY ethos forefronts off-the-shelf technology as drawing and collage materials. Her poetic use of LED strands and electroluminescent wire playfully explores the structure of drawing and free association using light, motion and various combinations of unassuming found materials.