Student Work

  • Fine Arts (BFA)

    Vito Nicholas

    Material Consequences

    There is hope that art can be tested and challenged and that new questions can be asked of it. My paintings and videos become actors that argue and contemplate memories, thought, existence, life, technology, the circulation of images in a 24-hour news media cycle, the public versus the private, and the re-arranging of language. We are part of and have access to new traditions of being, all oriented around the way we see. Simulacrums of people and environments raise existential questions of being; the sense of belonging or not belonging, the connection with or alienation from friends, loved ones, society and senses of place. We understand meaning by a system of differences. Situating the ephemeral of video alongside paintings that contain fragments or representations of media explores the trajectory of the material consequences of technology, media and history. In video, I glitch appropriated mass-media forms, commercials for consumer goods, and 3D rendered cities. Glitches may be errors, but because they are deconstructions or devolutions, they take on new meaning. With a glitch, one is unsure whether what one is watching is being destroyed or whether something new is emerging. Glitching creates an impression that something has gone wrong, which unsettles the viewer. The use of reflective surfaces in paintings and videos creates disorienting spaces that become existential. Reflective surfaces flow in and out of abstraction, representation, photography and imagination. The illusion of space, which is recognizable to the viewer, becomes interrupted by the unclear push and pull between the reflections (behind the camera) and what is visible through the surface in front of the lens. As an installation, paintings and videos together explore the material consequences that make us question the construction of familiar and emerging ways of seeing and thinking, inviting us to an unknown place.