Johnny Abrahams and Samantha Bittman’s solo shows on view at Guerrero Gallery for just one more week reportedly share a particularly intriguing focus upon the material and formal qualities of the work’s surface, as well as an interest in the marriage of the traditional applications of their chosen mediums and the digital technologies that have recently begun to alter both the perception and possibilities of them. With supporting references to techniques and interests of modernism in the early and mid 20th century, Abrahams and Bittman’s artwork invite the viewer to contemplate the disparity and convergence of old traditions and future, digital possibilities.
For Abrahams this confluence of traditional and digital techniques is the overall strength and enjoyment in his work; appropriating forms typically found in digital application is chiefly how his paintings reference digital formats. Abrahams’ use of grouping digitally-inspired geometric shapes, and transparent layerings that change and obscure color, line and composition create new meanings for audiences who are now familiar with raster and vector graphics editing programs. For Bittman this interest in the digital age is said to be manifested through an intricate attention to details of painting, contrasted and constrained within the manual manufacturing of the painting’s base. When Bittman augments, and yet obscures through application of paint in a pixelated pattern, the textile base’s weft and weave, she deftly encourages engagement between artwork, artist, and viewer, as well as a heightened awareness of material and surface.
The intention of both Abrahams and Bittman’s works do not seem to be towards a creation of a new digitally-inspired aesthetic, but to apply techniques found in digital imagery to material forms of painting, as well as a commentary on painting’s place, or consider its re-contextualization within, the digital age.
Johnny Abrahams, “Mediaforms” & Samantha Bittman will be at Guerrero Gallery through August 14, 2016.