Opening reception Friday January 10, 7:00 - 11:00 PM
Thesis Exhibition of Interdisciplinary Master's Student Nick Sweetman
"Engaging with images far exceeds the boundaries of the frame and involves a process of visualization that cannot be constrained (the mental space of the viewer) nor should it be."
- Ron Burnett
Images are important tools for human communication. Making images of things we see around us is one of humanity's oldest cultural practices and the one that often defines an important stage in our cognitive evolution as a species: the birth of symbolic thought. Through this practice it became possible to make concretely visible what could be pictured by the mind (whether memories of things seen or the products of imagination) through a likeness created out of the materials at one's disposal.
Representing something through an image can be carried out in an infinite number of ways, depending on the choices of the artist, but an image's success as a representation depends on the viewer's individual judgment. This judgment involves not only vision but also imaginative extrapolations on vision that are unique to one’s particular experiences and cultural context – an active mental process Burnett calls ‘visualization.’ This interpretation and evaluation of images is a complex and poorly understood process of generating meaning by expanding upon what is seen. What are the qualities of a successful representation and how does it lead the viewer to interpret the image as plausible?
The work in "Digital Adaptations" can be seen as an attempt to picture this process – as a pictorial metaphor for the role of visualization in seeing, interpreting and making representative images. Each piece begins from an image – a photograph taken of the surface of a found object. Through various material translations, the picture is extended beyond the boundaries of the image into an imagined larger composition that incorporates the photograph seamlessly. How is plausibility achieved in representing beyond the limited field of the image?
Nick Sweetman is an independent artist whose practice revolves primarily around painting, though his body of work includes installation, public intervention, video, photography, and graphic design. He is fascinated by the spontaneous and the playful role it often has in his process. Currently he is finishing his thesis work at Ontario College of Art & Design in the Interdisciplinary Masters of Art, Media & Design program. His MFA thesis incorporates painting, photography, found objects and a variety of other material processes in an attempt to investigate representation and the mimetic tradition in art. His paintings and videos have been exhibited throughout Toronto, most recently as part of the Elaine Fleck Gallery’s catalogue show Presents, and as part of the group shows Grow Op and Lucky 13 at the Gladstone Hotel. In addition to his independent portfolio, he has worked as lead artist on a number of projects for various private and corporate clients, from small scale images for clothing, posters, tattoos, and even hockey equipment, to the creation of large scale murals. He lives and works in Toronto.