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Nick Gaetano
"Unnatural Selections"

December 9-31, 2010
Reception for the artist: December 9, 7-9pm
In conjunction with the Downtown Art Walk



In contemporary times the nature/technology bifurcation stares us in the face more starkly as each day goes by. It makes sense that the (often dysphoric) culture it creates would become more apparent in the implications evinced by practices of artists who use these technologies. Digital photography is a particularly telling case because its analog roots are deep—photography was one of the first new technologies that took some 50 years to make a foray into the 'fine art' canon, replete with its theoretical discourse. Digital photography has taken some time to be accepted, and new ideas and have arisen regarding this usage over the course of that time as well.

In the genre of nature photography, the collision between the technology of the digital capture device and printer and the 'reality' of the subject itself undergoes an obligatory interplay that can take on two directions. One would be the exact and artful representation of the subject where the goal is to make the most clean and perfect image possible, something not possible in the digital realm a decade ago—but now wholly achievable. The other is where the use of camera blur, grain or pixelation, and other artifacts of the technology itself are embraced and integrated into the image. While the first direction is laudable and entirely legitimate, I find the second particularly fascinating as it delves into what is there in the technology itself as it intertwines with its subject and, consciously or not, explores the implications of that relationship. In this case it becomes the more narrow relationship between digital imaging and "nature" which it "captures" and "shoots."

In Nick Gaetano's prolific opus, there can be found a distinct series of natural landscapes where this second type of practice is explored with amazing verve. He distills the enormous array of possibilities available to "bugger up" an image to a few techniques that produce a moody dreamy vision. In these images we can find within a technologically aesthetesized nature a euphoric sense of balance rather than a toxic clash of agendas. This is achieved by his enormous gifts in the delicate direction of our perceptions which is informed in a large part by his experience as a painter—the much, much older imaging technology. Here form takes on not only a mood but indicates a healthy direction where the "unnatural" is not necessarily a disconnect from those qualities in our best interest to keep and safeguard within the "natural" world. Gaetano's images are not "captured" and "shot" but rather let free to live and evolve on their own as we gaze and interpret them with great pleasure.



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