“it’s not a misspelling,” Seafore Perl (aka Nick Friess, Master of Fine Arts in the physical world) notes of his exhibition, called ArtIfacs, now open at DaphneArts Centre, “but a deliberate play of words. My art (I) resulting in facsimiles, (facs).”
Having served in the United States Army Special Forces – the Green Beret – as a medic, deployed to both the tri-border area where Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam meet and to Delta area near the Cambodian border, Seafore uses his art as a means to explore his wartime memories. In doing so, he also considers matters of self perception as coloured by memories and emotions.
With ArtIfacs, he presents a series of images, most of them paired or in a group of three, each offering an interpretation of a scene in different mediums. So, for example, there might be a photograph, a digital rendering and an oil painting, all of the same scene. While the same subject matter might be used, each image is entirely unique in its interpretation, the individual use of colour, tone, lighting, and emphasis on elements within each piece drawing the eye differently to each one, so that different aspects become prominent s we shift focus one to the next and back again.
In this, ArtIfacs – for me at least – presents itself in three layers. In the first, there is the literal presentation of “artistic facsimilies”: the majority of the images, be they photographs, digital renderings or paintings, are of physical world object; thus, each image is literally a facsimile of the objects it represents. In the second, there is the element of the artist processing he experiences of active duty through his art; thus there are semiotics perhaps present, “artistic facsimiles” representative of his own thoughts, reactions, feelings and perceptions of he time on active duty in a hostile environment.
Then there is the third layer: how we respond to the images each in turn. Why are we perhaps drawn to one over the other(s), when all represent the same scene? What is colouring our own perception of, and reaction to, each piece? Is it the way different aspects of the scene are given prominence, or something else? What role do semiotics play in shaping our response, and how much of it is driven by our own internal processes – our own artefacts of memory and self, if you will – impinging themselves upon our conscious reaction?
Also included in the exhibition are insights in Seafore’s creative processes through a 3D model of one of his pieces and drawings showing the development of his ideas. There is also a large image of the avatars he has used over the years, making for another intriguing opportunity for interpretation.
As with Awakening, which I reviewed here, this is a deeply thought-provoking exhibition, albeit far more deceptively so. Nuanced, and with more to see than may first meet the eye. Like Awakening, Seafore’s ArtIfacs is fully deserving considered time and attention. It will be open through to mid-October.