‘Heavy Light’ explores limitless world of digital art at Quint gallery

Quint Contemporary Art is bringing the work of cutting-edge new media artists such as Lincoln Schatz, Gary Lang and John Gerrard to La Jolla for an exhibition titled “Heavy Light,” that will run from Friday, Nov. 17, to Dec. 30.

Digital art is a relatively new medium, and local museums and galleries have recently been featuring it, but the Quint gallery is featuring the “Heavy Light” exhibition because it wanted to be on the forefront of the genre, said Quint Art Director Ben Strauss-Malcolm.

“The show is a first of its kind in the San Diego area,” he said. “We have been working with some of these artists for quite a while and this is a chance to let them showcase their work. We wanted to share with our collectors as well as the public what is going on with digital art and let them interact with the work.”

Some of the digital artists in the exhibition, such as Schatz, are well-established in the genre, while others, like Lang, are new to the medium.

The works in “Heavy Light” are widely varied and there are many different themes throughout the show, but a common thread is that the pieces are not static. The images are constantly shifting.

Lincoln Schatz, who is a Chicago-based artist, will be showcasing his “Collision of Memory” series. The work features film that was recorded months ago, but it also records viewers in the present. The piece then blends the viewer’s image with the existing footage.

The work is engaging because it gives viewers the opportunity to see an image projected of themself that differs from what they are use to seeing, Schatz said.

Schatz calls the series “Collision of Memory” because it deals with how people react to images taken of them in the past.

“The content is the viewer,” Schatz said. “The computer creates a portrait and an environment. ... It is like the way you experience memory, like it is a series of small events.”

Schatz’s work is an example of the portraiture theme that runs throughout the exhibit, Strauss-Malcolm said.

“The human body has always been a popular theme in all art,” he said. “I think as far as Schatz’s work goes, it is the idea that we were just fascinated to watch ourselves on the screen.”

In addition to Schatz, “Heavy Light” will feature the work of Gary Lang. This is Lang’s first venture into digital art, but he has been a successful painter for several years.

Lang’s paintings are incredibly detailed. It takes him up to eight months to complete one painting. He said he was attracted to digital art because it would allow him to complete his work in a more time-efficient manner. However, Lang said the new medium is not a big departure for him.

“I make hypnotic paintings,” Lang said. “The format of this piece is like being inside one of my paintings.”

Similar to Schatz’s “Collision of Memory,” Lang’s piece, “Dividing Time (profiles #1),” is continually changing.

“The piece is about color, speed, light, space and time,” Lang said “It is a very dense construction that is shifting continually. It is almost baroque. You can do your best to keep up with it, but what I do is keep my viewer on their toes.”

Another piece that will be on display in the “Heavy Light” exhibition is John Gerrard’s “Thousand Year Dawn.”

The piece is a real-time video that portrays a man watching the sun rise over the ocean. The man stands at the center of the piece where sun, sky and ocean meet, but the video is continual and it conveys that the sunrise is infinite.

Although digital art exhibits such as “Heavy Light” are rare in San Diego, the medium is gaining popularity, according to Strauss-Malcolm.

“We have a culture very in tune with what is going on in TV, movies, theater and the medium has taken off,” Strauss-Malcolm said. “There are certainly more collectors who are collecting the work.”

However, American galleries are still behind the curve when it comes to showcasing new media art, according to Schatz.

“It is a fascinating genre, but right now there are only about 10 curators in the U.S. that are affiliated with it, yet it has grown so much,” Schatz said.

Although Lang only recently began working in media art, he said he will continue to work within the genre because it allows for viewers to interact with the art.

“Digital art is a great vehicle for hypnosis and for focusing,” Lang said. “I can draw the viewer in. It is a valuable experience.”

Quint Contemporary Art is at 7739 Fay Ave. Call (858) 454-3409 for more information.