April 15, 1998

'Sub-Techs' Through May 2, the Lab

It's sometimes difficult to see the human hand in the seamless animated visual worlds rendered on a computer system. But in this show of what curator and conceptual artist Charles Gute calls "the new postdigital sculpture" we see concrete evidence of human intervention in the realm of 0s and 1s. The six artists apply a Martha Stewart approach to electronic issues, and in some curious way, the results are almost homey. Stephen Hendee, for example, makes an angular, lit-fromwithin sci-fi wall structure using cardboard and black masking tape. while Rachel Stevens replicates and enlarges details of digitized snapshots using cuhes of sugar, some stained with coffee to provide the contrast. Using motors from vacuum cleaners, Bill Feeney takes on the inflated nature of kinetic art- and when you turn them on, the sound is quickly reminiscent of housecleaning. A series of colorful objects that look like Ikea office furniture is actually the product of Toshi Onuki's computer-generated explorations of the Olympic rings - and his international commentary is held together with hardware store clamps. There are even digital denizens of this high/low universe, in the form of Erin Thurlow's My Generation, a group of ghostly life-size youths made out of pasted-together inkjet prints. The most intriguing piece here, however, is by Austrian artist Gebhard Sengmüller, who has made a hilarious infomercial for his self-invented vinyl video system, which transfers moving images into the grooves of an LP. It's a work of electronic ingenuity that locates technological advancement in the warm, musty corners of a thrift store. Wed-Sat, noon-5 pm, 2948 16th St, S.F: (415) 864-8855.
(Glen Helfand)