Of course the best way to comment on the current state of art and technology has to be through a GIF. What other form could it take? A website? A painting? No: a GIF. (Or perhaps a single channel video on a flat television, a la Brian Bress?) Portland artist Zack Dougherty is colliding classical art with very forward focused technologies that come together in retro future GIFs. They’re mesmerizing and dark, perhaps admonishing the dwindling talents of contemporary artists.
Dougherty’s GIFs are all about the contrast between classic sculpture and polygonal tech items. David’s bust is entrapped by a glowing teal cube while Neptune vacillates between smooth and angled forms. Neon lights accent forms created by Michelangelo. Hands waver out of a pile of CPU components. A bust of a Greek god wears an Oculus Rift. These scenes are all depicted by small, sometimes impossible to notice movements.
As a whole, Dougherty is crafting a somewhat fatalistic view of how we treat and look and explore classical art today (specifically sculpture). While trying to keep them safe and preserve them in his work, they also feel like warnings to remember that the human hand can accomplish such feats. “Let’s not let our iPhones get in the way of what we can experience and do ourselves,” he seems to warn. He executes them perfectly too and many can be mistaken for small scenes from films. I suggest you spend a while digging through his archives: Dougherty is one talented dude.