detail Artificial Sculpture (click photos to continue)



With "Artificial Sculpture" Rees draws out questions for and problematizes the broadest social field while never leaving a more immediate and intimate terrain of cognition and the body, perception and language, posing in an uncanny, not humorless, fashion questions that often lie just above or below consciousness. In this latest exhibition what was in many ways a deeply personal, meditative art flips over into dynamic social sculpture for the digital age. From deep within the intricacies of computer-aided design and the interiority of increasingly protean and indefinable modes of conceptual and postconceptual art, Rees has begun to ask the same questions as cognitive science and third-wave cybernetics. More than a putative democratization of knowledge and skill, or a pataphysical display of hubris, in "Artificial Sculpture" Rees' language-become-body asks if the set of the virtual "self" is not an empty one. Rees is posing the questions of Mary Catherine Bateson in Our Own Metaphor,  where she concludes that while we can only perceive the world indirectly and via language, we know it since we ourselves are the metaphor for the world's complexity and structure. Using the platform conceptual art has prepared, Rees brackets for us the groundless "computational universe," which realizes "the cybernetic dream of creating a world in which humans and intelligent machines can both feel at home. That equality derives from the view that not only our world but the great cosmos itself is a vast computer and that we are the programs that it runs."  Rees reflects that 'regardless of the media has a persistent feeling that one is in possession of something "real" yielded from the ritual of creating art or intelligence.'  Perhaps what is most "real" is the emptiness (sunyata) of the ground Rees has cleared away, in a work which radiates out, like the arms of Shiva, in so many different directions.

from Ritual Resolution, by Jay Murphy
New York December 12, 1999