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Flatbed Picture Planes opens at the Center for Art and Theatre


Flatbed Picture Planes will be presented in the Contemporary Gallery at the Center for Art and Theatre (CAT) from Jan. 9 to Feb. 3. A reception will be held on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. at the CAT, and a curator lecture will take place on Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. in the Visual Arts Building, room 2071.

The exhibition examines the functionality of the painted surface in an age of big data and complex networks, questioning how it operates in contemporary information culture and what its representation means in a society that is increasingly organized by abstract networks.

Creators of the exhibit, artists Alicia LaChance, Laura Mosquera and Amy Schissel, have discarded the notions of paintings as a single window into a unified optical or pictorial space, and instead create dynamic approaches to layering and visual mash-ups in tune with hybridized, jump-cut modes of seeing.

“The idea for this show comes from a brilliant, often overlooked, essay by Leo Steinberg, titled The Flatbed Picture Plane,” said Gallery Director Jason Hoelscher, MFA, who curated the exhibition. “Writing in 1968, Steinberg was prescient enough to see that the industrial era was beginning to shift toward an information culture. In the light of this, Steinberg suggested art would need to update its approaches to depicting the world if it wanted to stay relevant to what were, just then, emerging information technologies.”

Fast forward nearly 50 years after Steinberg’s essay and his predictions have come to pass, and then some.

“In this show I thought it would be interesting to combine Steinberg’s idea of the flatbed picture plane – a surface less focused on representing things than on being a work surface where things happen – and combine it with contemporary art’s tendency to explore, sample and mash-up the history of art to make everything contemporary again,” continued Hoelscher. “The result is this exhibition of work by three contemporary artists from different regions of the United States who create densely worked and layered paintings in which the surface presents overloads of perceptual, conceptual and art historical information with eye-popping density and intricately constructed surfaces – Flatbed Picture Planes revived.”

All events are free and open to the public.

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