Animated Painting

Animated Painting

San Diego Museum of Art

Qiu Anxiong, stills from The New Book of
Mountains and Seas, Part 2, 2007
3-channel digitized hand-painted animation
video projection
black and white, sound; approx. 20 min.
Courtesy of the artist

October 13, 2007

Animated Painting
October 13, 2007 – January 13, 2008

1450 El Prado, Balboa Park
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 122107
San Diego, CA 92112-2107
General Information:
(619) 232-7931 / Facsimile: (619) 232-9367
Group Sales: (619) 696-1915

The San Diego Museum of Art’s new exhibition, Animated Painting, showcases contemporary artists who use the strategies of animation to produce their works in the moving image. It features twenty moving-image works by fourteen international contemporary artists who adapt traditional painting and drawing methods to the concepts and technologies of animation. Running from October 13, 2007, through January 13, 2008, Animated Painting is organized by SDMA’s curator of contemporary art, Betti-Sue Hertz.

The artists in Animated Painting, while taking advantage of animation concepts and technologies, are persistent in their use of pictorial codes associated with historically grounded painting and drawing traditions. Their animations rely on the visual and narrative opportunities that emerge through the melding of images associated with gestural handwork (drawing, painting, printmaking) and the durational qualities of cinema (celluloid or digital), where the unfolding of the animated image hovers momentarily before advancing forward, favoring the illusion of motion.

There are two basic methodological strands taken by artists in Animated Painting: image construction based in drawing, and painterly representations that are direct manipulations achieved by drawing or painting on top of live-action film or video footage. A third approach is presented by Jeremy Blake, whose eclectic collages “remix” photo-based sources with overlays of complex, digitally-generated shapes of different colors. A host of visual and textual preexisting source material forms the foundation for many of the animations, and these sources converge with the spontaneous, prerational, fluid, and even childlike qualities associated with the art of animation. At the same time, the work draws upon animation’s commercial, experimental, and avant-garde applications in both historical (analog) and contemporary (digital) versions.

Highlights of Animated Painting include William Kentridge’s animated film Tide Table (2005); computer animated figures by Julian Opie displayed outside of the Museum; Jeremy Blake’s digital video Sodium Fox (2005); and Sadie Benning’s video projection of hand-made drawings, Play Pause (2006). In addition, Wit Pimkanchanapong’s ceiling installation of a canopy of over 7,200 individual sheets of paper is a spatialized analog progression of animation imagery that provides a unique ambient atmosphere for the other works in the exhibition. Animated Painting also reveals the close relationship between contemporary art, popular culture, and progressive musical styles as several works feature new compositions and audio soundscapes.

Participating artists are the Barnstormers, Sadie Benning, Jeremy Blake, Sebastián Díaz Morales, Kota Ezawa, Ruth Gómez, William Kentridge, Ann Lislegaard, Takeshi Murata, Serge Onnen, Julian Opie, Wit Pimkanchanapong, Qiu Anxiong, and Robin Rhode.

Animated Painting is accompanied by a scholarly catalogue featuring essays by Betti-Sue Hertz, animation studies scholar Suzanne Buchan, and media theorist Lev Manovich, an exhibition checklist, artist biographies, and a DVD with sample clips of the works in the exhibition.

In conjunction with Animated Painting, SDMA is presenting a free four-part symposium titled Animation: From the Avant-Garde to Popular Culture. The symposium takes place on Thursday, November 1, and Saturday, November 3, and includes panel discussions by leading art and animation scholars, presentations of artworks, and a screening of animation by Southern California artists.

After its run at SDMA, the exhibition will be on view at the Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT) in Tijuana, Mexico, from October 1 through December 31, 2008, and at the Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, from February 6 through April 19, 2009.

Animated Painting is organized by the San Diego Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Krichman Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Mondriaan Foundation, and the African Arts Committee of the San Diego Museum of Art.

Additional support is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, the County of San Diego’s Community Enhancement Program, and members of the San Diego Museum of Art.

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San Diego Museum of Art
October 13, 2007

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