Art Detroit Now: Vagner M. Whitehead “Gold Code”

Art Detroit Now: Vagner M. Whitehead “Gold Code”

a solo exhibition @ org contemporary
“ART DETROIT NOW!” Saturday, October 3 at 7:00pm
through Friday, October 9, 2009 at 9:00pm

What Vagner says about his work :
This body of work brings together reoccurring interests of mine: the body, language(s) and contemporary/ubiquitous technological contexts.

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The works in this exhibition can be classified into four distinct but interrelated groupings: iconographs paintings, coded mixed media drawings, gold text pieces, and the performances (shown as single-channel videos) golden and gold code.

The initial inspiration for this exploration begins with historical painting references, such as Byzantine icons, Hieroglyphs, and Pop Art, to name a few.. My goal is to imagine (and actualize) contemporary equivalents for these past (but persisting) modes of representation via semiotic implications and digital communication expressions.

A reoccurring motif is the juxtaposition of planes of knowledge – what stands on the surface, what exists in occlusion, their relationships, intersections, and exchanges. There is a direct correlation made between the under-drawing of a painting and the painting itself with the computer code behind the web page, clues to historical references via the color scheme, and the implications of meaning via a simple gesture.

These works invite viewers to apply their own knowledge in the decoding process, or at least consider the pervasive but quiet nature of codes in our lives

One constant element is the simplicity presented throughout this exhibition: one font, one color (black), one metal (gold), and one body (iconic and indexical), all of which combined in varied configurations to create unexpected reverberations.

About the Artist:
Detroit-based Brazilian artist, educator, curator and writer Vagner Mendonça Whitehead works with time-based and traditional media. His work employs original and researched multilingual texts, found and created photo-based imagery, their translations and his interpretations as allegorical devices that reframe personal trans-cultural experiences vis-à-vis mass media and communication technologies.

Vagner has exhibited his work throughout the United States (AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, NM, NY, OR, TX, VA, WI), abroad (Austria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland) and online, in solo and group exhibitions and in video and film festivals. He was an artist in residence at the Ragdale Foundation in 2002 and a fellow at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2006. In Summer 2010 he will complete an artist residency at Residencia Corazon in La Plata, Argentina.

In 2007 his first international curatorial project, TERGLOBA, was mounted at the Oakland University Art Gallery in Rochester, Michigan. In early 2009 Vagner presented Contemporary Flânerie: Reconfiguring Cities also in Rochester, Michigan, and co-curated “@” in Los Angeles, California. Since Summer 2008 Vagner has been a member of the Detroit-based Changing Cities collective. During the upcoming CAA 2010 National Conference in Chicago Vagner will chair a panel for the New Media Caucus titled Cybersex: What’s Art Got to Do With It?, which will address the varied relationships between technology and human sexuality within a fine art context.

Vagner earned a BFA (photography) from The Savannah College of Art and Design in 1995 and an MFA (creative photography and electronic inter-media) from the University of Florida – Gainesville in 2000. He is an Associate Professor of Art at Oakland University, where he heads its New Media specialization. He previously held an Assistant Professor of Photography position at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.

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org Contemporary is located at
1610 Clay Ave. Building 2 – third floor
Detroit, MI
Phone: 248-909-2120