MMXIV: COLD FIRE
"Language and technology are constantly changing and forcing people to adapt their ways of communicating. Even the most enthusiastic first-adopters occasionally find reason to pause and reflect on how these developments are altering the social landscape, and many artists are tackling these developments in ways that can be as critical as they are whimsical. Dylan Neuwirth’s show MMXIV at Vermillion is a fantastic example of this. It’s leery and humorous, aesthetically appealing and ambiguous in its content. It is the best sort of minimal art—deceptively simple but impossible to unpack in brief with regard to its content."
"These phrases are in the most sterile, starkest white in the neon spectrum. It’s a cold fire. To look on them directly is searing and it takes a moment for one’s eyes to adjust, in a way defying the typical use of neon. One is ready to avert one’s eyes after a moment, and yet they draw the eye in the periphery. Hence, there is an actual physical reaction to the works, and they are indeed eye-catching. By using single tubes bent into cursive writing, Neuwirth turns even trite initialisms into things of beauty. How often does one see “lol” and “irl” on the net? Quite often if one uses social media. But how often does one see them or any abbreviation in cursive? Who knew that “irl” could be so lovely as it is in Neuwirth’s work?"
"Neuwirth’s work also makes a covert statement about how physical art can be digitized—which is to say that it can’t be, not really. The immediate experience of a work of art in a physical space cannot be replicated on a screen. Images of art are shared frequently through social media, but these images do not capture much detail and are often little more than a flicker in one’s feed. Neuwirth’s work poses a direct challenge to camera that would try to document it. The camera cannot yet compete with the physical eye, especially when the work is a light source. Snap a shot of Neuwirth’s installations with a phone camera and they will seem to hover in a void as the sensors reduce everything but the light source to blackness, including the cords and boxes that give them their light."
Read T. s. Flock's full review in Vanguard Seattle.