Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Artist Talk: Joel Swanson

Listening to Joel Swanson talk about his art was an interesting experience. He came from a graphic design background which initially sparked my interest, seeing what someone with that kind of background is making in the art world. One of the main things that really fascinated me about his work was his theme of language. The idea that language is this invisible barrier that forces a certain perception of the world based on which language the person speaks. Indexicality was another point he liked to do work on and again it reinforced just how driven and focused language makes a person. That was a new perspective I had never considered before, how controlled I was by the language I could speak. It was really neat seeing a concept like that applied into artwork, there were some very interesting conversations created. I also enjoyed that he addresses that fact that there are errors in language and he plays around with that idea to create some interesting pieces. His minimalistic approach was effective in that his art was very minimalistic but it also seemed to fail in some points at being interesting. The small repeating white neon signs or a single blinking white LED, while being concept heavy pieces, they left something to be desired on the visual end. The bits of code work he talked about really emphasized how powerful code can be and that was something close to a powerful observation I hadn't made before. He didn't have much work based on code but the ones he did have displayed a great deal of the versatility code has to offer. The possibilities are endless. I appreciated the new perspectives he offered and his interpretations of those perspectives.

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