Carla Gannis: Visiting Artists & Critics Lecture
Thursday, November 5, 6 pm | GOCA 121 (downtown)
Free! limited seatings; RSVP here 

Carla Gannis identifies as a visual storyteller, narrating with the use of 21st century representational technologies through a "digital looking glass".  Reflections and ruminations on power, sexuality, marginalization, and agency emerge through her practice of melding the digital with the art historical and beyond.

Originally from Oxford, North Carolina, Carla Gannis today lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received a BFA in painting from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MFA in painting from Boston University. In the late 1990s she began to incorporate digital technologies into her work, and in 2005 she was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Grant in Computer Arts. Since 2003 Gannis's work has appeared in 20 solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Currently she is a professor and assistant chairperson of The Department of Digital Arts at Pratt Institute.

The UCCS Visiting Artists and Critics Series fosters understanding and appreciation of contemporary art through dialogue and critical conversations. Artists and scholars of national significance are invited to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus to present public lectures and meet with UCCS undergraduate students in classes and workshop settings. The Visiting Artists & Critics Series is a collaborative program of the UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art (GOCA), UCCS Visual Arts and Art History (VAPA). 


My work is informed by art history, technology, theory, cinema, video games, and speculative fiction, to name a few, and I have expressed my ideas through many mediums, including digital painting, animation, 3D printing, drawing, video projection, interactive installation, performance, and net art. However, my core fascinations, with the nature(s) and politics of identity, were established during my childhood in North Carolina. I draw inspiration from my Appalachian grandparents singing dark mountain ballads about human frailty, my future-minded father working in computing, and my politicized Southern Belle of a mother wearing elaborate costumes, performing her prismatic female identity.

First and foremost, I am a storyteller, rooted in Southern Gothic and expanded into "Internet Gothic," where I have re-focused my narratives through 21st Century representational technologies. With digital collage and remix I reveal the hybrid nature of identity, where virtual and real embodiments of self diverge and intersect. I invite viewers to experience our inescapably mediated lives "through a digital looking glass" where reflections on power, sexuality, marginalization, and agency often emerge. I am fascinated by contemporary modes of digital communication, the power (and sometimes the perversity) of popular iconography, and the situation of identity in the blurring contexts of technological virtuality and biological reality.  Humor and absurdity are important elements in building my nonlinear narratives, and layers upon layers of history are embedded in even my most future focused works.On a conceptual and technical level the tableaus I produce consist of fragments that are reassembled at oblique angles to their original context - mixing the language of Bosch with the language of Emoji (and the language of Carla Gannis) for example, or combining Photoshop® and Maya® with (H)and(D)rawing® and (P)ainting®. My thoughts, embodied irl and url, are not meant to convey logical conclusions or to allow for easy categorization. I feel akin to past and contemporary artists, filmmakers and writers who uncannily deconstruct rigid notions of reality and perception. The extension of this sensibility with computer-based applications is only natural to me as a reflection upon the Digital Age in which we all coexist. 

Image: Still from The Garden of Emoji Delights Triptych Animation,  Carla Gannis


6:00 pm