Nancy Baker Cahill: Through Lines highlights the artist’s interdisciplinary artistic practice and the role of emerging technologies in contemporary art. Nancy Baker Cahill’s work examines ideas of systemic power, consciousness, the human body and the impact of humans on the biosphere.
This mid-career survey exhibition is Baker Cahill’s first solo museum show. Expanding upon her background in traditional media, the artist redefines the possibilities of drawing in contemporary art. She begins with finely rendered graphite drawings that evolve into torn paper sculptures, then scans and animates them into 3D digital immersive videos. The drawings, altered by software, later reappear as single cinematic frames in the form of fine art prints. Through Lines moves across spatial dimensions and media, following Baker Cahill as she investigates materiality and immateriality through her progression from drawing into digital works of art in augmented reality (AR). Featuring drawings, sculptural installations and single- and multichannel videos, the exhibition traces Baker Cahill’s mark-making from traditional modes of artistic production into technologized ones. The works invite reconsiderations of fine art and the art historical canon in the face of emerging technologies while examining site, time and space as they relate to the physical body, the digital, the permanent and the ephemeral.
Through Lines invites guests and viewers to interact with art outside traditional brick-and-mortar exhibition spaces with an animated, geolocated AR installation in the museum’s Jane and Harry Willson Sculpture Garden. This monumental artwork, Margin of Error, imagines an inevitable and toxic outcome created by humans’ impact on the environment. The title references the statistical probability of an event to occur, in this instance the occurrence of environmental disaster. By placing this work in the museum’s sculpture garden, the exhibition underscores consequence of the impending biological, chemical and geological disasters that will take place in our own backyards.
In the gallery, Baker Cahill’s prints Slipstream 17 and Slipstream 18 trigger their own AR animations, bringing static images to life as related videos. The artist’s AR works bridge the physical and virtual worlds through 4th Wall, Baker Cahill’s free AR art platform, allowing viewers to interact with and document themselves with the work. Through their visceral and temporal qualities, Baker Cahill’s AR works help viewers visualize what philosopher Timothy Morton calls “hyperobjects”: entities of such monumental scale and complexity that they often defy conventional modes of human understanding. By rendering the invisible visible, the artist challenges perception and reveals the unmarked, untold and unimagined.
The exhibition will travel to Villanova University Art Gallery in fall 2024.