Tiffany Calvert and Scott Massey Post-Sabbatical Exhibition

August 17-September 30, 2023
Tiffany Calvert and Scott Massey Post-Sabbatical Exhibition

Tiffany Calvert and Scott Massey: A Post-Sabbatical Exhibition
August 17-Sept. 30, 2023
Schneider Hall Galleries | University of Louisville
Reception: Thursday August 24, 2023 | 4-6 pm

The Hite Institute of Art + Design is excited to host Hite's own Tiffany Calvert (associate professor, painting) and Scott Massey (associate professor, sculpture) in a joint post-sabbatical exhibition. A sabbatical is a leave-of-abscence offered to tenured faculty that offers them a reprieve from teaching and opportunity to focus on personal projects and research. 

We are excited to welcome both Scott and TIffany back from their sabbatical with a join exhibition in the Schneider Hall Galleries. Read their artist statement's below for more information on the show! A reception will be held on Thursday August 24 from 4-6 pm. This event is free and open to the public. We hope you will join us. 

Tiffany Calvert

My practice connects painting’s history to our current visual culture, which is shaped in often confusing ways by algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), and blurred boundaries between real and virtual. I use image generating machine learning models (StyleGAN) trained on Dutch and Flemish still life paintings to create new invented images, which I print at large scale. Using stencils to protect parts of the printed images, I paint onto them. These masks create hard edges where paint meets reproduction. 

The machine learning models generate forms reminiscent of still life, but distorted and unexpected. It was, in fact, a viral mutation which created many of the tulips depicted - a virus which today growers must use AI to eradicate. Like AI itself the images are seductive, but the initial beauty of the paintings is a ruse. Reproduction and painterly abstraction are indistinguishable in some places; the paintings unfold to reveal their mutations. 

These blurred boundaries describe both the production and the product of my work–even my own gendered position is unstable, since my paintings contrast flower subjects, historically suitable material for women artists, and interventions into the fields of gestural abstraction and digital media, which are both historically coded masculine.

Tulips depicted in paintings, like digital imagery (NFTs) have been subject to use as currency, and particularly ripe for economic manipulation. By recalling flower paintings, I elicit their role as emblems of value speculation, futures trading, and Dutch colonialist trade and power. In turn, my work explores the way that painterly “transgression” and invention are often complicit in the expansion of speculative capitalism. Like the invisible hand of the market, AI in our lives is largely invisible. By collaborating with AI, I investigate how these neural networks shape our decisions by predicting and replicating needs and desires

Scott Massey: Desaparecido (missing)

The work produced over this recent sabbatical came from a difficult place, the experience of witnessing both parents simultaneously battle the cognitive and physical decline of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. This led to an acute awareness of the temporality and situational relationships of perspective, comprehension, and presentation.

I draw everyday. It’s a way of seeing and comprehending the world around me, but I rarely exhibit drawings. Conventional preparations and presentations didn’t fit for work coming from the observance of such disruption in meaning and coherence. My research had been organized around corporeal reality as a filter for experience and it was now more of a mirror of the collapse of conventional reality, employing physical erasure and the decay of altered order, comprehension, and perspective. 

Robert Rauschenberg erasing the Willem de Kooning drawing and the Larry Rivers drawings that moved between the presentation of drawing and the illusions of form, as well as Matthew Barney’s “Drawing Restraint”, have all deconstructed the conventions of drawing before.

 It simply isn’t always about facility or seamless illusion, the absence, gaps, misalignments and / or the revelation of an interrupted process can provide space to linger in a liminal state as a respite against the inevitable dissolution of self.

 This work explores artifact of action through randomized iterations, with suspension of focal point on a ground through fragments sewn into the paper. The paper as both material and ground, a space between entropy and order, like a desolate garden with moments of intentional energy.