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Extended Reality, Nicholas Gutierrez

Extended Reality, Nicholas Gutierrez

Nicholas Gutierrez’s 2013 exhibit “Extended Reality” finds its origins in four films that inspired the artist at a young age. “I saw these films for the first time between the ages of nine and thirteen years old,” he explains. “During the years I revisited these movies many times and always found something interesting in them.” Building on the films’ visual cues, themes, and social dynamics, Gutierrez explores new dimensions within the original contexts. In the process he examines the relationship between art and popular culture, particularly that of the appropriation of existing images as the basis of new creation.

Approaching photography more in the manner of painting or collage than capturing reality, Gutierrez uses digital composites to construct his scenes, combining the film’s original elements with his vision and inspiration to arrive at images that are meaningful in both contexts.  Old elements are used to tell new stories, and the films “Dangerous Liaisons,” “La Ley del Deseo,” “Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome,” and “Metropolis” provide the settings for the artist’s new narrative elements.

Nicholas Gutierrez has been working in image creation for 13 years both in Colombia and the United States. He received his BFA in Visual Arts from Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia, and completed his MFA in Photography at Academy of Art University in 2012.



Phosphorescence, Shannon Brett

“In a world full of mundane routines, I am drawn to the uncommon,” states Shannon Brett of her 2013 exhibit “Phosphorescence.” Combining two series of paintings, the artist emphasizes the unifying theme.  Two approaches, one focusing on subject, the other on process, explore the artist’s quest: “I am more interested in the unexplained and become fascinated with developing theories that may answer the many questions.”

Blending Dutch Golden Age chiaroscuro with modern disregard for representational color, and using both for impact as much as for description, Brett takes a direct path to an emotional response. In her circus paintings, subjective elements such as naked flame and sharp sword provide the emotional cue; color is heightened or subdued to suit the narrative element. In her galaxy-inspired works, the pictorial process takes over; color is freed from realistic representation and brought center stage. In each case, the emotional result is as important as the visual experience.

Shannon Brett began her art education at Monroe Community College in her native New York. Moving on to Alfred University, she explored various media, including glass, ceramics, and metal,  while completing her BFA. She is currently working towards her MFA at Academy of Art University. Brett has exhibited her work in galleries in New York and Italy, in addition to San Francisco.



Balanscapes: San Francisco ’12-’13, Beom Jun Lee

Balanscapes: San Francisco ’12-’13, Beom Jun Lee

From across a city street, an architectural facade can be viewed as an arrangement of geometric elements. But to our real-world eyes these elements will always appear distorted by perspective, and the only square close to true is one directly in front of of us. In his 2013 solo exhibition “Balanscapes: San Francisco ‘12-’13,”  Beom Jun Lee frees us from the confines of perspective vision, then moves on to analyze the shapes and rhythms, frame them in the camera lens, and balance them with the addition of a human subject.

“I spend thirty minutes on average waiting for the desired alignment of people within the frame” explains Lee.  Working with just a tripod and DSLR camera, he concentrates on the subject rather than the process. Refusing to add any additional elements in the editing process, he adheres to traditional practice while using contemporary techniques. This approach further underscores the artists quest for balance; symmetry with counterpoint, organic with mineral, camera with computer.

Korean born Beom Jun Lee received his BA in mathematics from Boston University before coming to Academy of Art University, where he will complete his MFA in Photography this year. Although Balanscapes is his first solo exhibition, Lee has been featured in numerous exhibits in Korea and San Francisco, and has received numerous photographic awards.



Graffiti + Fashion, Orly Ruaimi

Energy is the motivating force behind Orly Ruaimi’s 2013 exhibit “Graffiti + Fashion” and the common entity that binds her creative cycle into a unified artistic expression. Energy of life, urban culture, graffiti expression, all contribute to the underlying power that bridges the gap between painting and wearable art. The cycle begins with bold exploration, working into a coherent expression, is then transformed into the third dimension to be re-assessed and realized. The final jewelry piece speaks of its parent painting, and goes on to inspire future paintings, thus renewing its own creative cycle.

“My art is a statement of the moment, bold and daring” says Ruaimi. She begins with graffiti-inspired lines in a wide range of media. “I often paint this aspect blindfolded to ensure that energy will dictate the piece, not limited to perception, shape or composition.” The artist will eventually analyse the final painting and extract its motivating elements, which she will translate through laser-cutting of Oroglass into a finished jewelry piece. Wireless NFC chips are embedded, which will direct any smart device to an online destination, making them in effect “smart accessories.”



Home Front, Ryan McClymont

Bridging the disparity between romantic fantasies of toy soldiers and the realities of actual combat, Ryan McClymont’s 2013 exhibit “Home Front” unites seemingly irreconcilable viewpoints into composite analyses. Concept is realized through a parallel process; a color photo of an action figure and a black and white portrait of a veteran are are combined digitally, then printed twice – once in color, once in black and white. Both photos are then cut into strips and woven into a single image, representing the reconciliation of naive romanticism of childhood with harsh reality of military service.

“Most of the toys used in this project belonged to me as a child” explains McClymont. “The action figures also mirror the fact that individual service members are often no more than pawns following orders.” The portraits are of U.S. military veterans of different branches, eras, specialties, and experiences. The idea of combining imagery to create a new identity also parallels the military experience of creating a new persona to shield oneself from hardships.

Veteran of two tours in Iraq, Ryan McClymont has firsthand experience of the disparities between perceptions of military service and the realities of combat. He currently works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as volunteering his time to teach photography as art therapy at the San Francisco Veterans Administration. Ryan McClymont completed his MFA in Photography at Academy of Art University in 2013.