David Spriggs AP2

The artwork of David Spriggs lies in a space between the 2 and 3 dimensions. In his work he explores phenomena, space-time and movement, colour, visual systems and surveillance, the strategies and symbols of power, and the thresholds of form and perception. Spriggs is known internationally for his unique large-scale 3D ephemeral-like installations that use a technique he pioneered in 1999 layering transparent images.

Red Pepper Study by David Spriggs (1999)
Paradox of Power by David Spriggs

David Spriggs’ large-scale sculptural installation, The Paradox of Power, is an investigation of rapid change, deconstruction and symbolic revolution. In the same vain as the Futurists, Spriggs is interested in the representation of time and motion in the sculptural form. Using layering as a device, Spriggs has developed “an environment that breaks free from the laws that constrict both two and three-dimensional materials, bringing together painting, drawing, photography, digital-modeling, and sculpture, to create a spatial topographic system”… Spriggs has installed of a life-size model of a stratified bull, cut in two, with each end displayed in two adjacent cases, each a sublime eight feet high and ten feet wide. Spriggs’ investigation of the multiplicity of time and its relationship to the sculptural form is here transcribed in his an analysis of the bull as a semiotic agent. By literally deconstructing the bull through a layering of transparent stratum, the mythologized ‘power’ the bull represents is “fragmented, and reconstructed in an alternate reality.”The bull is rendered immobile, flipped upside down, legs in the air. The form is further transformed in the plastic anaglyphic binary colours of each half — a paradox of red and blue. This binary references not only the deconstructive possibilities of vision itself, but also an antithesis of power in the corporeality of the bull contained, divided and sacrificially immobilized.. Like Muybridge’s running horse, Spriggs uses the representation of serialized time to suggest a paradoxical ordering of symbolic power.

Paradox of Power by David Spriggs
Perpetual Motion by David Spriggs (2009)
Emergence of Perception by David Spriggs (2009)
Emergence of Perception by David Spriggs (2009)

Spriggs’ work invites us to see-with what is not actually there and to move-with the constellation of what we’re beginning to see. Moving-with perception composing itself, we experience the dynamics of an object becoming spacetime. We no longer simply observe – we are moved by the experience of watching, and we move with it. We note the contours but feel the colors. We see the lines but feel the rhythm. We see-with the becoming-work. This is the activity of plastic dynamism expressing itself through the emergence of a body-image constellation.

Emergence of Perception by David Spriggs (2009)
4 Colour Separation by David Spriggs

Suspended in a cross formation are four illuminated plexi vessels, each containing a nebulous cube of one of the four subtractive primaries used in the CMYK process. The hazy cubical forms reference visual culture constructions such as the screen and the hologram, while simultaneously dialoguing with monochromatic painting of the 20th Century. Spriggs has built an artistic practice characterized by a desire to transcend the limitations of “flat” media in re-creating three-dimensional space. The particular social, political, and technological connotations attached to individual colours, and by extension, the tradition of the monochrome loom large in Spriggs’ chroma-centric practice. The artist, however, prefers to describe his works as “stratachromes.” This formal designation captures the layered process that gives literal dimension to Spriggs’ hovering, soft-edge, monochromatic “Spatial Image Sculptures.”

4 Colour Separation is the latest instalment in a collection of works that exhibit a longstanding engagement with the mechanics of perception. While the exploration of optics is a persistent feature of Spriggs’ practice, one must not overlook the haptic and corporeal dimensions of the artist’s work. Much like its large scale and immersive predecessor, Stratachrome, 4 Colour Separation creates a ground to be navigated. The substantial dimensional presence of these Spatial Image Sculptures implicates our bodies in the viewing experience and speaks to the dynamic nature of perception itself. The constantly shifting play of light and chromatic intensity as one moves around the work imbues these stratachromes with tremendous vitality and a special power to split a single ubiquitous printing process into multiple poignant embodied experiences. Like Stanley Kubrick’s monolith in 2001 A Space Odyssey, Spriggs’ enigmatic stratachromes create perceptual encounters that demand full survey and are defined by perplexity, reverence, and utter enchantment.

4 Colour Separation by David Spriggs
4 Colour Separation by David Spriggs

Virtual Art (From Illusion to Immersion) S

  • Virtual art has integrated itself into the everyday, the way images are now produced as well as the integration of both skepticism and utopianism.
  • With the advent of new techniques for generating, distributing, and presenting images, the computer has transformed the image and now suggests that it is possible to ‘enter’ it.
  • The panorama demands a special consideration: this illusion space represented the highest developed from of illusionism and suggestive power of the problematical variety that used traditional methods of painting.
  • Interactive media have changed our ideas of the image into one of a multi-sensory interactive space of experience with a time frame.
  • In a virtual space, the parameters of time and space can be modified at will, allowing the space to be used for modeling experiment.
  • The possibility to access such spaces and communication worldwide via data networks, together with the technique of tele-space, opens up a range of options.

Historic Spaces of Illusion

  • Through the device of seeming to extend the wall surface beyond a single plane, the room appears larger than its actual size and draws the visitor’s gaze into the painting, blurring distinctions between real space and image space.
  • The most effective examples of these frescos use motifs that address the observer from all sides in a unity of time and place, enclosing him or her hermetically.
  • This creates the illusion of being in the picture, inside an image space and its illusionary events.
  • The overall effect is the break down the barriers between the observer and what is happening in the images on the walls. This is accomplished by a suggestive appeal to the observer from all sides that untilise illusionism techniques.
  • The positioning of a illusionist fresco, is partly staggered, on a podium painted in perspective approximately one meter from its base on the floor, contributes to the optical effect of a relief, and this depth.
  • The most important effect of all is its totality; it is an image space that addresses the observer from all sides: ‘The visitor to the chamber falls under the spell of the gaze directed at him from all areas, which rivets him for as long as he remains in the room’.
  • Illusionistic painting techniques create an artificial space into which the observer is “integrated”.
  • Completely filling the field of vision, there is no possibility for the observer to compare extraneous objects the scene, which might revitalize the impression made by the picture.
  • The observer confronts a simultaneous image that envelops panoramically and transports them to another space.
  • Frescos are remarkable because they surround the observer entirely and almost completely occupy the field of vision.
  • Although the murals begin at around 1.20m from the floor, the room can be classified as space of illusion because of the effect created by its 360-degree design, and most important, the fact that there are no framing elements, neither painted not architectonic.
  • Fifteenth century Italian masters opened up the depth of space though their mastery of perspective, translated into the metaphor of the window- a window that opens up into a different reality.
  • With the aid of the visual technique of perspective, strategies of immersion receive a tremendous boost, for they allowed the artist to portray convincingly much that formally was alluded to.
  • The Renaissance discovery of perspectiva artificialis introduced distance and breaks in perception, whereas previously it had been directly oriented on the representational nature of objects.
  • However, perspective is not an expression of natural vision; it is a technical construction and, what it presents to the perception follows specific conventions.
  • Distance between the observer and the object viewed is removed through ubiquitous mathematical analysis of the structure of image space, the totality of its politics of suggestion and strategy of immersion.
  • To achieve rational interior design, the new art of perspective was obliged to impose sever limitations.
  • The physiological space perceive by the observer is spheroid, a result of the permeant movement of the eyes, had to be abstracted to a flat linear perspective construction.
  • The combination of illusionistic fresco and three- dimensional sculptures, which the observer views in close proximity, endows a scene with an immersive presence that draws the observer into the scene.
  • When the visitor moves, perspectival perception of the work changes accordingly.
  • The interplay of representation of heaven (baroque ceiling paintings), which takes in the entire building and penetrates the interior by the way of windows, creates an effect that represents a new facet in strategic immersion: pictorial space at different distances from the observer.
  • As a tool of visual perception, the camera obscura was the result of a long process of scientific discovery and development.
  • The panorama installs the observer in the picture.
  • The representation of nature in the service of an illusion, was from the beginning the core idea of the panorama.
  • Both the illusionistic landscape room and the panorama surround the observer with pictorial images and both seek to create the effect of actually being in a real landscape.
  • With its suite of innovations in presenting images, the panorama was able to heighten the illusion considerably and more lastingly, compared with the illusionistic landscape room.

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