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Ryan Whittier Hale’s work Shifting Landscape (2014), a 1:30 minute HD digital video, presents the viewer with a seductive and mesmerising landscape. Hale depicts a synthetic world that is unpopulated and adrift amidst clouds bathed in golden light that move slowly as if floating in space. In this work the artist challenges the contemporary fashion to form an ever growing dependency on technology as a medium for connection and communication.
Hale’s work questions to what extent we are willing to invest emotionally in these virtual realities? It speaks to the inevitability that we are becoming more and more attached to using avatars, that serve as surrogate selves who mediate our human interactions. And it poses the further inquiry; are we becoming acclimated to a reduced intensity of human intimacy?
American artist Ryan Whittier Hale (b. 1985) is a visual artist who manipulates photography and video through digital collage and 3D animation. Utilizing fantasy and science fiction aesthetics, Hale’s work questions the value of emotional investments in virtual worlds and beings in relation to its potentiality of becoming an artificial substitute for human warmth. Hale depicts this uncertainty through a desolate yet tranquil landscape he populates with genderless, artificial beings, whose delicate forms fall somewhere between organic and artifice. Their skin evoking a cold plasticity, is contradicted by their almost lifelike gestures and expressions.
Recalling the highly stylised poses of Mannerist painting, Hale’s uncanny narratives draw upon the complexities of emotional entanglements against the desire for emotional communion. The beings’ relationships never seem completely grounded and have a darkness looming over them. Through a process of contrasting forces, they are ever caught in cold embraces where intimacy remains just out of reach.
Whittier Hale graduated from Parsons School of Art and Design, New York with a BFA in Design and Technology, 2010, and has exhibited internationally including; The New Romantics, Eyebeam, New York, NY, Aboveground Animation, New Museum, New York, NY, Prosthetic Measures, Skopia Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland, Svenblad/Cedrins, Undret, Stockholm, Sweden, Gaîté Lyrique, Jou Le Jeu, Paris, France, Art of Elysium, Smashbox Studios, Los Angeles, CA, Uptown Downtown, Abrons Art Centre, New York, NY and Beautified Taboo, Super Deluxe, Tokyo, Japan.
Ryan Whittier Hale currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
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