Americas

Brian Bress
Blindseye Arranger (Max)

Blindseye Arranger (Max) (2013) features a greyscale arrangement of rudimentary shapes layered atop one another like a dense cluster of wood block prints, the juxtaposition of sharp lines and acute angles creating an abstracted field of rectangular and triangulated forms composed as if in a cubist landscape. As the video progresses, however, a disembodied hand begins to move these forms, animating a pictorial frame that was previously still. The hand – ostensibly the “arranger” of the works title – functions as a metonym of the artist’s hand, quite literally bringing a motionless work to life. The hand in Blindseye Arranger, though, also signals a shift towards the performative, functioning as a reminder that all works of art are created by a maker’s “hand” and, in such, are never fully separate from the context in which they are made. Bress’s gesture towards interdisciplinarity in his work, by extension, signals an important moment in which questions of medium-specificity give way to more trenchant inquiries into notions of authorship and creative process.

Although originally trained in filmmaking and animation, Brian Bress explores the influence of pictorial traditions on contemporary media-based practices. His single-shot videos utilize painterly effects such as geometric abstraction to create visual compositions that blur presumed boundaries between contemporary media-based work and more traditional disciplines such as sculpture and painting. His work is deliberately processed-based and his videos, by extension, explore how visual motifs “evolve” over time through as a viewer engages with a given object or image. Animated figures and actors – such as disembodied hands – disrupt these seemingly still frames, repositioning these works in the context of film while also suggesting the presence of the artist’s hand. Bress’s videos may seem overtly indebted to creative lineages, and his images frequently border on the surreal. But in gesturing towards past works, his videos signal the emergence of creative practices enabled through technological advancements while also offering a meditation on a durational aesthetics privileged in media-based work.