Images Rendered Bare. Vacant. Recognizable.


20 January – 3 March, 2012

“I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye, I’m late I’m late I’m late!”  
-- the White Rabbit, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Albeit a humorous reference, too true does the White Rabbit’s mantra ring today, over 150 years after it was originally penned. Our current economic conditions and the advent of streamlining digital technologies find us a day late and often more than a dollar short. Yet, the fact that our pace of life has quickened has become a banal fact, and its mention rings as little more than cliché.

So, too, have our images become increasingly fast-paced in the digital context laid before them, laboring overtime with the invention of the image search and democratized image sharing platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram. They’ve been Versioned and Dispersed. They’re Poor. Digital images have emancipated themselves from their traditional function as an indexical reference to an event or material form. They no longer depict ontological reality, but usher in new, fleeting versions of their own.

Isolated is the stock image, a reprieve from the disorienting influx of information in the digital age. Stock media is the opposite of a signifier divorced from its referent—to be stock is to be accessible, sterile, neutral, and recognizable in any variety of contexts. Stock is approachable and sociable, happily vacant.

Including the work of Yngve Holen, Oliver Laric, Sean Raspet, and Rachel Reupke, “Images Rendered Bare. Vacant. Recognizable.” considers the stock image and media libraries in artistic parlance. While Holen employs stock photographs directly in his oversized moodboards, Reupke’s video, “10 Seconds or Greater” is produced in the image of stock media. Laric and Raspet create media banks of their own, the former an open source library, the latter a self-cannibalizing archive. “Images Rendered Bare. Vacant. Recognizable.” is curated by Karen Archey, and supported by LUX Artists' Moving Image.

Press and links:

Artforum Critic's Pick by Kate Sutton

L Magazine

Catalogue essay by B Taylor