Gerald Cannon

Gerald Cannon's code-based works play with our need for aesthetic satisfaction when presented with abstract or representational imageries. Jerry, as he is familiarly known, believes an image possesses a number of expected strengths: visual narrative, color, balance, masterful execution and good ideas ... but, as is so often and unfortunately the case, these qualities become trumped by our compulsion to understand (and validate) the art-making process. In a short essay entitled, 'The Uncertainty Principle,' Jerry defines his work as addressing questions of our visual reality - by questioning the essence of visual perception, and whether we can be certain of the truth of our perceptions, Jerry challenges us to view his artworks from a wholly satisfied aesthetic, encompassing novelty and irony, and question whether anything more can please the viewer. When his ideas are affirmed, Jerry considers his work successful, and, nevertheless continues to push, provoking the viewer's sensibilities by revealing 'the way the art gets made.' Producing unique multiples, Jerry states he 'makes sincere work that intentionally collapses under the weight of its own sincerity.'

This isn't really a novel approach. We experienced the almost exact same tender-tough in your face attitude of I'm-smart-beyond-cool-and-do-you-get-this approach with Roy Lichtenstein when his first collection of paintings was reviewed in 1964, and (in)famously repeated by Andy Warhol and his Factory. The question then, that sometimes repeats itself now, is/was whether using mechanics to create art demeans a work by the potential facility of reproduction, and is that art or is it reprographics? Is it fine art? Well, I guess that depends on you, the viewer, and you, the artist, on integrity, on formal adherence to fine art principles, and on what you like to view, etc. Lichtenstein and Warhol are unquestionable American art icons, as a by-product of American history, newsprint, advertising and graphic design, they resonated strongly with a population tired of the lofty refined exclusions of 'fine art.'

While Jerry's work isn't advertising or newsprint based, it is definitely in step with our contemporary history with his use of digital technology. His artwork process, based on sets of unique algorhythmic codes he created and developed to generate unique, or limited editions of images, narrates stories of natural beauty (that might quickly vanish), of movement and a wild universe of saturated colors, of universal communications, of a boy and his dog. When paralleled with Lichtenstein's grids or Escher's pencil or Rembrandt's brush, one quickly understands Jerry's process, his use of uniquely personalized codes, is merely another tool to manifest his particular vision of the world.

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