Artist Glen Kessler transforms computer hardware into atmospheric landscapes in his paintings and drawings. See more of his work by visiting his website.
I use painting to explore the elements of contemporary culture that I find most compelling. For the past few years I have been interested in observing the rapid and unchecked integration of technology into our lives. A paradigm shift of this magnitude has never happened in all of history in such a short span of time and to such a degree.
In my oil paintings and pastel drawings I create images that allude to cityscapes, train depots, and industrial plants, among other urban scenes. The images are actually of computer motherboards seen from ‘street level.’ I place them in front of backdrops and light them so that they appear naturalistic. I capture the moment with my camera then tinker in Photoshop before bringing it to the canvas.
I use cropping, blurring, and color adjustments to balance the images between the landscape fiction and their tiny still life reality. Only after a while, if ever, do people begin to figure out that they are really computer hardware. This is where the real intrigue begins. Why are these two worlds melded together so? Why are they depicted at the ‘times of day,’ from the angles, and with the sense of movement that they are? What does this connection say about our past, present, and future relationship to technology and the real world?
I work in two primary mediums: oil paint and pastel. I favor oil paint above all other mediums because of its incredible longevity and technical properties. It is without a doubt the most effective tool for creating objects of believability. The genesis of oil painting occurs out of a Renaissance desire to create more realistic depictions of the world. Acrylics don’t come close. They are born out of industrial bridge paints chosen for their durability, inexpensiveness, and flatness.
The other medium I use, dry pastel, is as close to playing with pure pigment as one can get. I enjoy operating at that high level of saturation where lowering the intensity of colors only occurs through mixing on the paper directly. It encourages my color to glow. More than a few times switching to pastels has reinvigorated my appreciation for color in my oil paintings.
Pace of life is another element that I am cultivating in these works. The world now moves at a quicker pace. Depth has been replaced by breadth. A moment of clarity is cherished for its fleeting quality.
In addition to selling my original paintings and drawings, each of the ‘Modern World’ series is available as a limited edition giclee. Each one comes in a full-size and a quarter-size version and all are hand-signed and individually numbered.
I have a BFA from MICA and an MFA from New York Academy of Art. I have taught at MICA since 2001 and currently offer numerous open-enrollment classes for beginners and advanced artists in the DC-Metro area. I maintain my studio in the newly renovated Capitol Arts Network studio facility in Rockville, MD. It is home to 30 Resident Artists, a professional gallery, and spacious classroom.
Glen Kessler invites you to follow his Facebook page.