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Reset – Artist Statement

 

Early video game consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) were designed with a reset button. When pressed, this button scrambled, and then rebooted, the software running on the consol. While it was not necessarily the intent of this feature, the reset button on my NES often got used in a release of frustration. My finger would jam this button in a fit of annoyance at an overly challenging level, or seemingly unbeatable computer opponent.  

 

These works explore a landscape that is being reset. They reflect on personal change, and on the climate of change in contemporary culture. They consider the ways that narratives anchor us, and the challenges that come with trying to break those ties. They also consider the messy nature of operating outside of the story, or of resetting the narrative entirely. The work draws influence from the visual language of early video games from the 1980s and early 90s and from non-perspectival forms of narrative image-making such as illuminated manuscripts, early Christian painting, Mesoamerican art and the like. 

 

The organization of forms in these works swings back and forth between narrative and abstract. It solidifies in places, only to fragment and break-down in others. This ebb and flow reflects on the dismantling and reframing of existing narratives that is prevalent in contemporary culture. A second theme is the employment of a limited palette. While this is a design construct, it is also purposefully used to explore the infinite possibilities within closely constrained parameters. Conversely, the use of limited palette in these works reflects upon the insular and polarized ways in which information is consumed via the internet, social media, and cable news. The limited palette becomes a symbol for sources that feel robust and full, while offering a perspective that is purposefully narrowly controlled and constricted. Thirdly, the work considers the culture of collecting that is associated with video games, and more broadly with consumerism. In many games, the player is tasked with collecting items like, coins, gems, hearts, rings, easter eggs, or other items.  The pursuit of items often directs the players actions in the game. It can also provide more expansive game play, creating additional risks, challenges, and rewards. This aspect of gaming is an apt metaphor. It reminds us of our obsession with things, the efforts that are made in service of their acquisition, and the way that collecting can distract us from achieving goals. 

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