o4/24/11 BY DYLAN MACKENZIE
Art galleries are known for their “do not touch” mantra: sticky fingers and oily prints are best left off of the historic pieces. That taboo is entirely erased in the Barmecidal Projects show, “Free 4 All”, due to the fact that the art featured can’t be touched, even if you tried.
“All of the works that we have don’t exist physically,” said Jillian Ross, the curator of Free 4 All. “It’s our first show, so we’re feeling out the situation.”
The gallery features twenty-eight artists containing many real-life gallery staples: clay sculptures, flat paintings hung on the walls, an elongated Beyonce skull… well, many traditional pieces. All of them come together in a virtual gallery of 3D and 2D renderings, which is then displayed over an LED projector.
Ross, alongside fellow curator Mike Goldby, had no set creative guidelines. Technical specs, like file size and dimensions, were the only procedures in place, earning the name “Free 4 All.”
“The entire show took two months to plan,” Golby said.
Fusilli pasta, Egyptian pyramids and a flashing Gundam Wing model are a few of the examples found throughout the winding gallery tour.
“Some of the artists had a conceptual idea that we were able to render to the digital space,” said Ross. “Others already knew the software.”
Preparation of Free 4 All started two months ago when Ross and Goldby called upon artists they knew would suit the virtual project. Artists from Chicago to Toronto and Montreal to New York became connected through the ties of a young artist conglomerate, coming together at the show’s Saturday launch held at The Butcher Gallery (4 Northern Place).
“All of the artists are here one way or another. Maybe one artist isn’t related to ‘this artist’, but they’re related through another artist,” said Lili Huston-Herterich, the co-founder of The Butcher Gallery and participating artist. “It’s a network web that only happens on the Internet.”
Huston-Herterich’s piece, “After Caro (His Admirers and My Contemporaries)”, took a week-and-a-half of sculpting, colouring and rendering. Even on a digital surface, it appears massive, reaching the ceiling with its metal and wood counterparts.