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Kevin Mulhearn

(b Lichfield, Staffordshire, Jan 22, 1941).

South African multimedia artist, art critic, and art historian of English birth. Williamson immigrated to South Africa in 1948. She studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1965 to 1968 and received an Advanced Diploma from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, in 1983. One of South Africa’s most distinguished artists, she has also served a critical role as an interpreter and disseminator of information about the country’s art scene.

Williamson’s work has consistently engaged with South Africa’s social and historical circumstances. In the 1980s she endeavoured to reveal through images the people and ideas that the apartheid regime worked to suppress. In the series A Few South Africans (1983–5), for example, she produced postcard-sized prints of women engaged in the anti-apartheid struggle, such as Winnie Mandela and Helen Joseph, which could circulate at a time when the women themselves were often prohibited from doing so. ...

Article

Geraldine Craig

(b Detroit, MI, April 16, 1949).

American sculptor, animation, performance, and installation artist. Wilson was a leading figure among artists who began working in the progressive contemporary craft movement of the 1970s and1980s and gained prominence in the art mainstream by the 1990s. Influenced by the alignment of textiles with feminist art that emerged in the 1970s, Wilson employed the cultural associations of diverse source materials (table linens, bed sheets, human hair, lace, thread, wire, glass) to interrogate how craft and context can define a feminist position in art by subverting the boundaries of middle-class propriety and social values.

An early favoured subject and material for Wilson was human hair. Her internet-based project hairinquiry (1996–9) solicited responses to the questions: ‘How does it feel to lose your hair?’ and ‘What does it mean to cut your hair?’, returned through e-mail, fax, and conventional mail. Her sculptural work Lost (1998) was made by embroidering black human hair onto a used white linen tablecloth that was draped over a chair – the discarded hair treated with transgressive care suggests a powerful residue of memory and life lost. With her installation ...

Article

Andrew Cross

English sculptors, video artists and performance artists. John Wood (b Hong Kong, 18 June 1969) and Paul Harrison (b Wolverhampton, 30 November 1966) both graduated as painters from Bath College of Higher Education and began working together in 1993. Their collaborative video works involve both artists performing bizarre but very simple actions. While referencing the early videos and performances of Bruce Nauman or Charles Ray, the humour and irony of their work is more reminiscent of British television comedy of the 1960s and 1970s. In 3 legged (1996; see D. Batchelor and C. Esche) the two protagonists are seen tied together at the ankle and confined within a simple wooden shelter while an automatic tennis server shoots balls at them; the two tussle in idiotic fashion while trying to avoid each ball. All their collaborative works examine their intimate physical collaboration or their relationship to a particular physical environment. ...

Article

[Latv. Nebijušu Sajūtu Restaurēšanas Darbnīca; NSRD]. Latvian association of artists, architects and designers, active from September 1982 until 1989. It introduced video and computer art, new music and hybridized art genres to a conservative public in Latvia towards the end of the Soviet period. Its very name implied preconditions of stricture and privation, and its multidisciplinary methods served to expand critical discourse when Latvian cultural identity and collective political consciousness were undergoing a symbiotic revival, with the restoration of independence as a goal. NSRD founders Juris Boiko (b 1954) and Hardijs Lediņš (b 1955), both self-taught artists, organized Actions that some critics considered to be subtle acts of political dissent. Their Walk to Bolderāja, an annual pilgrimage begun in 1982 to an off-limits Soviet submarine base (representing thwarted access to the West), took place along railroad tracks that recalled the mass deportations of Balts to Siberia during the 1940s, to which Boiko’s parents fell victim. Workshop members included ...

Article

Ah Xian  

Claire Roberts

[Liu Jixian]

(b Beijing, May 7, 1960).

Chinese multimedia artist, active in Australia. Self-taught as an artist, Ah Xian spent his early years in the relatively privileged environment of Beijing’s Science and Engineering University, where his parents worked. He trained as a mechanical fitter and worked in a factory, pursuing art in his own time. In the late 1970s he began to associate with avant-garde poets, writers, and artists including members of The Stars, a non-official art group demanding freedom of artistic expression. Because his experimental works of art, sometimes incorporating images of naked figures, were considered at the time to be unacceptable, he was subject to routine surveillance by the Public Security Bureau.

Ah Xian first traveled to Australia in 1989 as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian School of Art. He returned the following year and in 1995 was granted permanent residency in Australia. In 1991 he created Heavy Wounds, a series of paintings based on imagery from first aid posters that deal with injury and triage, an expression of trauma associated with the violent suppression of democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere on ...

Article

Akira Tatehata

(b Tokyo, April 22, 1928).

Japanese sculptor and video artist . He graduated from the law school, Nihon University, in Tokyo in 1951. In the same year he formed Experimental Workshop with the poet Shūzō Takiguchi, and others, and presented a wide range of avant-garde activities, mixing fine art, music and performance. In the series Vitrine (1952) he created two-dimensional works with an optical effect using glass sheets. In the early 1960s he created sculpture from wire-mesh and from stretched cloth. He participated in the New Japanese Painting and Sculpture exhibition at MOMA, New York, in 1965. In the same year he created his first work using light, Relation of C (Tokyo, Met. A. Mus.), and exhibited the light sculpture Bridge on May at the Venice Biennale in 1968. He organized an international exhibition Electro-magica at the Sony Building in Tokyo in 1969 and began to be regarded as a leader in the realm of art and technology. In ...

Article

Reiko Tomii

(b Kobe, Jan 3, 1967).

Japanese photographer and video artist ( see fig. ). She received degrees in crafts (1989) and art (1991) at Kyoto City University of Arts. During her studies, she created installations with accumulative fibre elements. When she photographed them for documentation, she came to recognize the power of photography. In 1993 she presented a performance work The White Casket , at Art Space Niji, Kyoto. Making a complete departure from her fibre works, she began a Photoshop-manipulated photographic series, Elevator Girls, in 1994. The project lasted for the next seven years, and depicted a group of primly uniformed elevator girls, all looking alike and mysteriously assembled in an elevator and other commercial, urban architectural settings. Frozen in passive or inactive postures, they represent the depersonalized, claustrophobic existence of Japanese women (and women in general), who live in an artificial consumer culture and a patriarchal Japanese society.

In 2000...