Human Connection, the exhibition
Human Connection is a dual exhibition that features artworks by painter Nick Gentry and South Korean sculptor, Young-Deok Seo. Gentry tells Artimage that while it would be easy to emphasise their differences - one being a sculptor and one a painter - the very spirit of the show defies this: “We are simply people experiencing the world. There is a wild freedom in that.” Both artists use recycled materials in their artworks as a way of engaging with a sense of mindfulness, something that Gentry says both artists are inspired by.
“Mostly though, the works simply sit well together. Sometimes it’s better to just feel what appears to be a shared sense of mystery in the work, rather than try to explain it all. Maybe there is a shared energy - something unseen, perhaps related to the creative process?”
“Fragments of data from millions of people”
Gentry’s artworks use a variety of obsolete, recycled digital materials, from 35mm film negatives to video cassettes, X-ray prints and floppy discs, all of which are no longer deemed to be useful.
“There is something beautiful about the easily forgotten things around us. It’s not for me to define exactly what they represent, but I do have a close connection to them and they speak to me about the age in which we are currently living.”
These collected digital materials are then formed into paintings and portraits that still contain data, but no longer have the familiar forms they once had.
“I love the idea that I can reduce this mass of physical data to a cloud of luminescent, shapeless dust. There is something about the mixing process that I find fascinating. Just one painting can contain fragments of data from millions of people.”
Collaborating with the world
In order to collect all this data in its varying digital forms, Gentry’s work also involves a ‘social art project’ in which he asks for contributions from the public, from floppy disks to CDs and more. This not only allows him to open his art up to people and help them become more involved, but he also notes that this is an interesting factor in his work when you consider how digitally connected we are.
Behold the rhinos
As Gentry says himself, his work intrinsically questions our relationship between the natural world and the digital one.
“We are living a sort of dual existence, one in the natural world in which we evolved gradually over millions of years and the other in the digital world which has developed overnight.”
Interested in the development of technology and identity, consumerism and cyberculture, Gentry concludes that it is important to “Find a way to manage that relationship and be closer to nature.”
Which brings us on to his upcoming projects. Working with wildlife conservation charity, Tusk, Gentry created a rhino sculpture that is on public at St Pancras Station until 22 September, as part of The Tusk Rhino Trail. Separately, he is also collaborating with WWF.
Next year, one of Gentry’s public art pieces will celebrate Waltham Forest’s standing as London’s first Borough of Culture. Meanwhile, the artist is also preparing for his first solo show in Paris.
Some Artimage love
When asked why he decided to join Artimage, Gentry replied: “It’s a great way for artists to reach out to more people. Often when I show a painting in a gallery I like to see it as a starting point. The works live on after the physical object and this is a great way to go on sharing the image.”
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Images from the top: The Survivors; Combination 1; Flame; Being 1; Devious Designs; Assemblage Number 1; Photo Opportunity Number 1; Glitch; Dream.
All images © Nick Gentry. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018