September 15 through October 13
Siebren Versteeg and Joe Grimm are like neuro scientists.They carefully manipulate dials and press buttons to examine how those produce different effects on the human body, effects that are often hallucinatory. Their interest, however, is not in reaching a final conclusion. Rather, it is in constantly rediscovering the human body through the ocular (and also the auditory in the case of Grimm) in the process of their examination. The types of examinations appear to differ from each other – Versteeg creatingpaintings, Grimm performances and installations- but their methods are the same in spirit; using different combinations of ideas such as speed, opacity, and repetition to ultimately create illusions.
Siebren Versteeg’s abstract “paintings” are actually digital images that he produces by using algorithms on the computer and printing those images on canvases. The paintings are expressionist with bold brush strokes and in vivid color palettes. His paintings overwhelm and mingle with the psyche of the viewer like an ocean of colorful waves. Yet when he prints them multiple times on canvases, the images become patterns. This shrewdly reveals that the images are not made by human hand.
Joe Grimm also uses technology to produce sensory responses, with his epilepsy-inducing lights that are often colorful and accompanied by sound. Interestingly, he compares his multimedia performances and installations to paintings. He says, “taking sense experience as my canvas, I make work that exposes the support; I show where the canvas ends.” If traditional paintings studied the body by copying it with brushes, he studies it by brushing on it; he pokes, tickles and scratches it with lights and sound.
Siebren Versteeg and Joe Grimm are illusionists who employ tricks to search for the real. Both of them realize the canvas as a cultural symbol that is a site of illusions, Versteeg physically, Grimm metaphorically. By combining modern technology with the tradition of illusionism, they contest limitations of our perception.