LIKENESS is the current group exhibition at the Mattress Factory Museum of Installation Art that examines human depiction during a post-Warholian era in which new technology has played an influential role. It includes the work of artists Jim Campbell, Paul DeMarinis, Jonn Herschend, Nikki Lee, Joseph Mannino, Greta Pratt and Tony Oursler. Elaine A. King, who is a freelance critic and curator as well as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University teaching Art History/Theory/Museum Studies, has guest-curated the exhibition.
Among the offerings is Paul DeMarinis’ new work, Dust. With this work DeMarinis explores facial similarities, pairs of faces, and the abstraction of images into the dust. DeMarinis presents a fragment of this collection of likeness-pairs, scanned sequentially into the light-memory of phosphorescent powder. After a few minutes of exposure to the projected image, the powder retains a faint green image of the two faces on its surface, something akin to the ‘latent image’ of photographic film or the veil of memory. Unlike photographic film, though, the image starts to distort. Propelled by low frequency sound vibrations, the powder starts to flow and dance, first distorting the faces and erasing their likeness, then distorting them into patterns of abstract light in motion, with form and beauty all its own.
On the other end of the spectrum is Jonn Herschend’s many-sided conceptual, Self Portrait as a PowerPoint Proposal for an Amusement Park Ride. The installation is characterized by a strong sense of narrative, not strictly limited to straightforward vignettes or mimetic representation. In his complex self-portrait one finds a narrative that resembles fantasy, role-playing, fiction and a touch of reality. Herschend’s choice of subjects and materials contribute to the kind of story he opts to tell and show his audience.