February 21- March 18, 2015
Opening reception: Saturday, February 21, 2015 3:00 - 7:00pm
Random Parts is pleased to present a solo exhibition with Colleen Flaherty.
In the seminal Understanding Media. The Extensions of Man (1964), Canadian media scholar Marshall McLuhan stated that “An abstract painting represents direct manifestation of creative thought processes as they might appear in computer designs.” In PATTERN RECOGNITION, Colleen Flaherty’s creative thought process is made visible for the viewer. Operating as a juncture between the machinic and the natural, the archaic and the modern, she acts as a radar, a warning system. “The serious artist - adds McLuhan - is the only person able to encounter technology with impunity, just because [she] is an expert aware of the changes in sense perception”. The inorganic is thus unmasked, unpacked: behind the screen lies a microprocessor. But chips are made of silicon, that is, sand: under the technical, lies the natural. Sand snakes leave traces and Flaherty has captured them all: lines of codes, curves, layers of information.
Technological tools incessantly reshape our world. They also redefine what it means to be human. The artist is a vigilant sentinel, because unlike others, she is immune to their subtle effects. According to McLuhan, “No society has ever known enough about its actions to have developed immunity to its new extensions or technologies. Today we have begun to sense that art may be able to provide such immunity.” What Flaherty does in her latest works is “to pick messages of cultural and technological challenge decades before its transforming impact occurs.” As such, she is a woman of “integral awareness”, one who can visualize the technical through the artist gesture.
Flaherty’s intuitive yet highly sophisticated use of abstraction comes at no surprise. As McLuhan noted, abstract art “offers a central nervous system for a work of art, rather than the conventional husk of the old pictorial image.” PATTERN RECOGNITION is a set of maps of the contemporary visual age dominated by circuit boards. These paintings form the cartography of a new territory, both inner and outer. These paintings are not symptoms, but offer a diagnosis, a verdict. “Just as higher education is no longer a frill or luxury but a stark need of production and operational design in the electric age, so the artist is indispensable in the shaping and analysis and understanding of the life of forms, and structures created by electric technology.”
Flaherty's canvas is a framing device: screens and windows are transformed, and so are their values, purposes, and meanings. The Technical and the Natural. A new visual language for a new kind of viewer. Patterns await recognition.
A visual artist trained as a painter and a sculptor, Flaherty uses her craft and woodworking skills to create works that invite the viewer to engage with art in a tactile, tangible way. She received her M.F.A. in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco in 2002 and her B.F.A. Cum Laude, with emphasis in Painting and Drawing, Minor in Music from San Jose State University, San Jose, California in 1998. Her work has been presented in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Montevideo, Uruguay, and Pienza, Italy. In 2012 she started COLL.EO, with Matteo Bittanti. Co-founder of Random Parts, an artist run space in Oakland, California, Flaherty lives in Northern California.