ANGELL GALLERY is proud to present OBJECT SELECTION, a solo exhibition of new work by OLIVER PAUK. The exhibition runs from January 13 through 28, 2017, with an opening reception on Friday, January 13, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
The artwork of Oliver Pauk engages with the prime constant of our digital environment: entropy. At every stage of its lifespan, and even prior to its creation, a piece of digital media is subject to the tremendous forces of entropy. While the dream of the internet involves navigating a seamless convergence of total information, the actuality much more closely resembles a patchwork of contingent translations between networks and documents, databases and algorithms, filetypes and protocols. A file is selected, uploaded, formatted and compressed; it gets filtered, transmitted, curated, or sorted; it becomes recalled, downloaded, archived, or forgotten. But at each step, something is missed, garbled, or reversed. The seemingly endless, weightless transmission of information in the cloud is, in fact, fuelled by loss.
Beginning with the selection of particular objects with peculiar qualities-broken crystal, pieces of found rubber, plastic mesh, and other detritus-Pauk creates a place of potential through compositions so sensitively assembled as to appear incidental. From here, Pauk slowly and deliberately occludes these configurations, first by painting them in part or whole with a solid color, and then by photographing the results and transforming them digitally through various programs and processes, some automatic and scripted, others painstaking and arduous.
In this way, he excises the images of their most recognizable features while emphasizing what remains, re-enacting and reversing the entropic processes underlying the distribution of digital content. Pauk's doctoring recalls in some ways the artifacts and mispatterning typical of Tauba Auerbach or Wade Guyton, where the interfacing of the artist's hand and mechanical processes yield impromptu abstractions. Pauk does not seem to be interested in accidents, however. The work likewise bears traces of the procedurally-engineered compositions of pioneering digital artists like Frieder Nake and Manfred Mohr, though Pauk is not a process artist. Ultimately, his anti-images have much more in common with the work of Gerhard Richter, whose blurred photorealism and gestural abstraction were both products of careful de-emphasis of the core elements of a recognizable image, what he called the "excess of unimportant information."
The critical absence of this type of information yields another: a kind of metadata of image-making, through which the plainly human recedes and the aggregate characteristics of the work emerge. Unbeholden to the coherence of realism, this aggregate data is translated across dimensions, from space to flatness and back again. Fittingly, Pauk's recent work delves into 3D printing and hydrographics, bleeding-edge technologies that reiterate his transmutational practice, rendering the digital tangible while extruding flat imagery into real space. Thus what Pauk provides are images and objects that have the same physical relationship to reality as all those others that proliferate around us, but which have traversed the digital realm in a completely novel way. From entropy, Pauk finds new forms which could only have been realized through loss.
Text by: Ben Bruneau