Vicious Circle
3 channel sync painting-in-motion video installation w/improvised music by
dj's Michael Stock and Sam Cooper; Tonalism @ Glow Festival 2008
curators Cindy Bernard (SASSAS) & Alejandro Cohen (Dublab) Looff Hippodrome Carousel, Santa Monica Pier, 2008 rt: 5:15 minutes

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vicious circle @ glow/tonalism: vimeo

The idea behind Vicious Circle was to create the feeling of an internal storm within a place of shelter.

My hypothesis was exacerbated by navigating the obstacle course that became the floorspace in combination with a high-relief surface hostile to video projection. I worked with new parallels to my previous observations of complicit distance: nostalgia regarding the carousel and critical observations derived from two canonical paintings: Michelangelo Buonarroti’smassive fresco Sistine Chapel Ceiling (1508-1512) and J.M.W. Turner’s
Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth (1842).

Sistine Chapel Ceiling is event: a depiction of immaterial power condensed into multiple narratives covering and penetrating an overwhelming physical space at once, impossible to approach directly. This was the strategy in the edit: to take two disparate works and mash them up while enhancing the possibiities for operatic narrative. Snow-Storm became a organizational floor plan while gestures became both sequenced and redacted. The swirling movement of Snow-Storm was still present, if mechanically in the projection, then organically in a cyclone-symbol like choreography of the room and its entry points.

I also found direct confrontation with possible and perceived failure became a valid entry point into making work. The design structure of the Looff Hippodrome ceiling is as beautiful a readymade surface as it is difficult for projection. Like Sistine Chapel Ceiling, the Hippodrome ceiling could be treated as a surface for painting, but emphasizing palimpsest over skim coat. In this case, the skim coat would be the animation projection crawling and rolling over the surface.

Closer to the floor than Sistine, the downward slope of the Hippodrome’s interior cupola emphasized a sense of gravity. It could bring narrative and pixelated abstract expressionism down to earth, raining down and rising up while spinning round, unraveling itself, aiming toward opera. As such, the Hippodrome experience made me consider movement through and across space more carefully.




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Matt Sheridan contemporary artist website

i make paintings and painting-in-motion video installations in public + private architectural sites and contemporary art spaces worldwide.

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