Nate Boyce – Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

On Friday 23 January at 6pm the exhibition Polyscroll by Nate Boyce will open at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. 

San Francisco-based artist Nate Boyce maintains a hybrid process using 3D modeling, video, and sculpture to produce video sculptures and sculptural videos that morph and manipulate space. Producing an uncanny, disorienting experience for the viewer, the artist’s complex, visceral forms gesture towards new forms of embodiment across animation and sculpture. His practice considers how computerized simulation enables the mutation of objects and the infinite mutability of space, provoking a reflection on the present and future of digitally rendered forms.

In previous works, the artist would make sculptures by hand, shoot them rotating in a green screen light box and modify the footage in 3D modeling software, which would then be used as a basis for standalone sculptures or sculptures with looped animation. The sculptures themselves involve industrial methods that mimic the slick veneer of computer-generated images (CGI), such as airbrushing, powder coating, and 3D printing. At the same time, the artist’s color choice lends an affective dimension to the works, where the polychromatic color schemes found in painting are chosen over the synthetic bold pop colors often associated with commercial CGI, operating as a wrap or a foil over the form. Through this process, Boyce has developed a unique formal vocabulary in which the sculptures and videos evolve and mutate, informing one another over time.

Commissioned by YBCA, the exhibition Polyscroll presents a new body of work that emphasizes the hand drawn and painterly representation. His new works layer the artist’s handmade drawings into his animations and sculpture, while foregrounding lighting settings within the 3D modeling software. Boyce’s sketches flicker and recede over fluid, shifting shapes as they horizontally drift across large flat screens. Abstract plinths balance welded metal that move like a curving line, while steel grids twist and jut out from the railing. Toying with light and structure, Polyscroll references the illusion of pictorial space throughout the history of painting and sculpture, and the central role of light in the production of depth. As a study of how our tools create the semblance of space and depth in 2D and 3D space, the works highlight the phenomenological quality of objects as they alter their surroundings and with it, our perception.

Control: Technology in Culture is a series of exhibitions in the Upstairs Galleries showcasing work by emerging and mid-career artists who examine the social, cultural, and experiential implications of technology. The exhibitions in this series seek to prompt timely questions about the profound and far-reaching influence of technology in our daily lives by focusing on artists whose work spans a multitude of disciplines and relates to a diverse set of issues, including architecture, acoustics, psychology, labor, consumerism, the environment, and the military.

The term “control” refers to philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s theory that, as a result of the ever-increasing role of information technology, Michel Foucault’s “disciplinary society” of the 20th century has given way to a “control society” in the 21st century. In contrast to discipline, which molds the individual through confinement in factories, prisons, and schools, control is diffuse, adaptable, and ubiquitous, modulating rather than molding the individual.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – 701 Mission Street, San Francisco
Opening 23 January 2015 6pm – 5 April 2015