Gary Duehr, Uncanny Valley, digital photo
American, playing from Boston, MA, USA
Gary Duehr has been chosen as a Best Emerging Artist in New England by the International Association of Art Critics, and he has received an Artist Grant in photography from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. His work has been featured in museums and galleries including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Exit Art, Umbrella Arts, and New York Arts, New York, NY; Gallery Tsubaki, Tokyo, Japan; SKC Gallery, Belgrade, Yugoslavia; and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba. Past awards include grants from the LEF Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.
His public artworks include a photo installation funded by the Visible Republic program of New England Foundation for the Arts, and a commission from the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) for a permanent photo installation at North Station.
Duehr has written about the arts for journals including ArtScope, Art New England, Art on Paper, Communication Arts, Frieze, and Public Culture. Currently he manages Bromfield Gallery in Boston's South End.
Thoughts on the Telephone process
"Uncanny Valley" taken by an iPhone off the screen of a laptop playing "Blue Flow."
With "Blue Flow," I was struck by the gaps in digital presentation, where the artificiality shows through - much like the bucolic valley bisected by a drain pipe. I focused on a close-up of grass blades where their bottom edges are sheared off, and where the pine branches above are floating shards.
By tilting the laptop screen, I could further highlight the digital falseness: solarization like a Man Ray photo, and a blend of original image with reflection of yellowish room lights.
My piece is titled "Uncanny Valley" after the effect in animation (as in "Polar Express") where a human (Tom Hanks) is almost real but not quite, making the figure appear cadaver-like. Animators have learned to fall short of this valley and keep the figure more abstract.