Have it your way

"The artists want people to interpret it themselves. They would've been fine with having no information at all. It's supposed to be experiential," Gallery Assistant Greyson Charnock said.

Temperatures this summer range anywhere from an uncomfortable 80 degrees to a barely habitable 100, but a different atmosphere looms inside the art gallery in the Visual Arts Building.

“A Cold and Overcast Day” was put together by Interdisciplinary Technologist John Henry Blatter and associate professor Bob Kaputof, both from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“The process for creating ‘A Cold and Overcast Day’ was a long one, consisting of experimentation, trial and error and sometimes more perspiration than inspiration,” Kaputof said.

Blatter spoke of a communicative experience that included visiting each other’s studios and sharing the progress of the individual pieces.

Kaputof invited Blatter to be the second artist when the opportunity to show at UCF came through colleague Byron Clercx, director of the School of Visual Arts & Design at UCF. Kaputof cited the size and versatility of the gallery as a deciding factor.

Despite knowing each other for years and working together on a show in Richmond, they insist that the exhibition represents “two artists creating individual work rather than a collaborative team.” 

The two-part multimedia installation starts with Blatter’s sound (Composition #1) surrounding a solitary bench. Wisps of wind, whispers and water droplets are aggregated from the individual tracks playing on each of the equidistant eight speakers.

On the wall is a map to corresponding emotions, each one portrayed as the evolvement of other feelings through time.

Blatter sees the print as a sketch and the audio as the end piece.

“The score itself is a transcription of an experience through emotion over time, while the audio is an interpretation of that transcription,” he said.

Down the gallery and on the other side of a wall lies Kaputof’s visual component. It is accompanied by a flickering soundtrack achieved using a telephone microphone pick-up to catch the sounds of electricity running through the wires. 

“Bob's piece…was completely built within the gallery, making sure that each light, lens and object was in the exact position that he wanted,” said gallery assistant Nicole Vallee.

The sights change quickly. Their eeriness complements Blatter’s now distant yet ever-present sound installation. Fleeting glimpses of people, technology and buildings give way to a sense of nostalgia, time passing and even decay.

Kaputof affirms that the images are personal, coming from things he sees and hears.

“A few have suggested it is a dark vision of infrastructure…but I’ll leave that up to you and others to decide,” he said.

The gallery wishes to showcase more in-house digital mediums in the future.

“Having Blatter's and Kaputof's show really helps us move toward the direction we are taking,” Vallee said. 

“A Cold and Overcast Day” reads and feels for the first few minutes like an ode to a kind of weather that must exist somewhere, but the journey inside reveals much more.

You can read the artists’ statements on the UCF Art Gallery website. The exhibit, running through July 8, is free and open to the public.

Story originally published on June 23, 2016.

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