Future Artifacts Explores the Interplay of Digital and Manual Art-Making

detail of work by Alyson Shotz
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Exhibition is in the Projective Eye Gallery at UNC Charlotte Center City through March 13.

The UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture presents Future Artifacts, an exhibition in the Projective Eye Gallery at UNC Charlotte Center City, through March 13. Featuring works by five artists, Future Artifacts addresses the “digital reality” of contemporary culture and its effect on artists and art-making.

Digital production has become so prevalent that we often presume its contributions despite the existence of precise analog production; if something appears too complex or too exact, we almost automatically suspect the use of some digital process. Although digital fabrication has been increasingly used in every stage of manufacturing, the longstanding culture of making by hand remains relevant.

The artists of Future Artifacts directly or indirectly allude to the presence of digital fabrication, but do not necessarily rely on it exclusively. What is especially noteworthy are the natural materials they choose – such as felt, paper, porcelain, thread, and wood – and how these materials contrast with our notions of a high-tech culture.

For example, Alyson Shotz’s thread drawings of folding fabric (pictured) can, at first, be mistaken for pixelated images, thus implying digitization. Yet, upon closer inspection, one realizes they are meticulously produced by wrapping and knotting colored threads in a specific pattern around thin pins. Likewise, the other artists – Cha Jong Rye, Thomas Schmidt, Janet Williams, and Ivan Toth Depeña – imply or use digital processes or blend digital with manual fabrication.

Future Artifacts has been curated by College of Arts + Architecture Director of Galleries Adam Justice with UNC Charlotte art professors Janet Williams and Thomas Schmidt.

The gallery will host a reception on Thursday, February 13, 6:00-8:30 pm. Please visit the UNC Charlotte Center City website for parking and directions.

Pictured: Detail of Alyson Shotz, Falling Fold (Yellow), 2017