Quayola: Pleasant Places

March 18, 2017—August 13, 2017
North Carolina Museum of Art

Pleasant Places consists of a series of digital paintings exploring the boundary between representation and abstraction.

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Inspired by the work of Vincent van Gogh, U.K.–based artist Quayola traveled to Provence, France, 125 years after Van Gogh famously painted there. As a nod to that painter’s expressionist style, Quayola’s own Provence landscapes morph from realistic images of windblown trees to abstracted scenes of color and texture, as the natural forms begin to bleed into one another in swirls of disintegrating pixels. Simultaneously, the audio of rustling leaves and wind becomes distorted and abstracted.

The artist writes: “Through the misuse of image­ analysis and manipulation algorithms, Pleasant Places challenges the photographic image and proposes alternative modes of vision and synthesis. As the outlines of trees and shrubs get blurred, nature becomes dense and almost impenetrable. The resulting compositions remain, suggestively, suspended between representation and abstraction, between the depth of the natural scenery and the surface of the screen.”

Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.

Quayola, Pleasant Places (still frame), 2015, single-channel video projection, dimensions variable, 28 min., Collection of Allen G. Thomas Jr., Image courtesy of the artist, © 2015 Quayola


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