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Bunbury Regional Art Gallery


City Collection – Glitched Prism

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A Post-Cubist abstraction from BRAG’s permanent collection, as selected by BRAG Director Mike Bianco.

The evolution of art is often intertwined with technological advancements, as artists engage with new tools and mediums to reshape their creative expressions. 

As a primary example, the emergence of cinema at the turn of the 20th century profoundly impacted artistic sensibilities, and in particular on the development of the Cubist movement. Cinema introduced a new way of perceiving motion, form, and time, challenging traditional artistic conventions which tended to focus on “still” forms of life. The fragmented and dynamic nature of cinema resonated deeply with Cubist painters, like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, who were drawn to cinema's ability to capture moments from various angles and perspectives. This multi-perspectival shift enabled artists to break away from a single viewpoint, opening an artistic inquiry invested in deconstructing subjects into colour and geometric abstraction. 

In the century that has followed, artists have increasingly looked to colour, form, and abstraction as subjects in and of themselves. As the notable American minimalist artist Dan Flavin once said of his coloured florescent tube installations “It is what it is, and it ain’t nothing else.” To this end, artists have continued to produce works where no outside subject is being represented – the work (colour, line, form, and medium) is a representation of itself. 

More recently, digital technologies have revolutionised the artistic landscape, offering a palette of tools which extend far beyond the traditional boundaries of painting and sculpture and into the realm of moving light itself. While the emergence of video technologies has allowed for the efficient production of narratives to be captured and transmitted to audiences, errors in the technology have impacted artists in ways akin to the early effects of cinema on the cubists. Often referred to as “Glitch art” digital abstraction embraces the errors, distortions, and "glitches" as essential pictorial elements of an artwork, challenging the notion of perfection, and inviting viewers to reassess their relationship to realism.

Both the influence of cinema on Cubist painting and the impact of digital technologies on Glitch Art share a common thread of disrupting conventional norms. Both celebrate multiplicity, imperfection, and non-linearity, inviting viewers to engage actively with the artworks to see them as they are, and to appreciate the joy that can come from seeing line, colour, and form in and of themselves.

Image: Brian McKay. Egyptian Quartet (detail). 2011. Automotive enamel on etched and sealed aluminium, 180 x 30cm