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  • Oliver Sutherland, South West Showcase artist

  • From left: Leah Harris, Oliver Sutherland, Stuart Robinson, Tim Bolton, Hannah Rose, Zoe Li

  • From left: Leah Harris, Exhibitions Coordinator; Zoe Li, Exhibitions Manager (Maternity Cover) and Hannah Rose, Exhibitions Manager

Posted 20.01.17

In Pictures: Digital innovation in Oliver Sutherland’s solo show

By Phillip Buchan

'And then...' Oliver Sutherland, South West Showcase, The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art

As part of The Gallery’s South West Showcase, artist Oliver Sutherland is presenting ‘And Then…’, a solo exhibition of moving image artworks situated within real-time simulations.

The exhibition, which explores possibilities for agency in digital production and the anxieties that spawn from submerging a body within technology, runs until Wednesday 15 February 2017.

Oliver’s new work presents dislocated narratives that pull in and out of focus, coming together and falling apart as an artificially intelligent camera encounters them.

"The works are based  in  live simulations playing out in a virtual landscape, exploring and re-configuring this closed loop as a constantly evolving space."

‘And Then…’ is part of South West Showcase, a recurring open call platform at The Gallery, showcasing artists from across the South West region. The exhibition has been kindly supported with additional Lottery funding from Arts Council England.

Oliver Sutherland’s work often examines the language of digital production, focusing on the relationship between content, tool and the user.

The South West Showcase aims to uncover and celebrate the talent of contemporary artists like Oliver Sutherland.

Oliver was recently an associate artist as part of the Tate St Ives Artists Programme 2015 and is a recipient of the CMIR and Spike Island Moving Image Bursary 2016.

His recent exhibitions include: Untitled (Loosing It), Recent Activity, Birmingham; Big Screen Southend: Focal Point Gallery, Southend; C~C, Tate St Ives, Cornwall; After/Hours/Drop/Box, Andor Gallery, London; Home Theatre, Baró Galeria, Sao Paulo; Brand Innovations for Ubiquitous Authorship, Carroll/Fletcher, London; Chimera Q.T.E, Cell Projects, London.

"Being able to engage with students at Plymouth College of Art and to show my work in an art school environment gives it a vital energy."

Oliver Sutherland said: “I’d say that my work is based in sound and moving images, with sculptural elements. In past years for me, that meant digital animation, but I’m progressing into live simulations and using game engines to create virtual spaces that incorporate those elements of moving image and sculpture.

Oliver's exhibition runs until Wednesday 15 February 2017.

“As an artist coming from a background of moving image and digital animation, the logical leap for me is to move into these live spaces to explore the potential that they offer.

“The works in this exhibition have a level of autonomy to them, closed loops in which narratives are explored. There are elements of spoken narratives, combined with percussive and textural sound.

“It's exciting to work with an artist who is exploring the innovations of media technology within a fine art context.” — Zoe Li, Exhibitions Manager (Maternity Cover) for The Gallery

“The works are based in live simulations playing out in a virtual landscape, exploring and re-configuring this closed loop as a constantly evolving space.

“It’s important to note that although the new works use similar technology to live gaming, there’s no direct interactivity for visitors to the gallery. There are various AI systems at work, but not in a generative way - the exhibition won’t generate new content.

“If you spend any length of time in it then you may begin to experience similar states, but they’ll never be the same because the interaction continues to evolve.

Oliver has been part of the Tate St Ives Artists Programme, a recipient of the CMIR and Spike Island Moving Image Bursary and exhibited widely across the UK.

“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to experiment in this way, and Plymouth College of Art has been amazing about supporting my work.

“The college’s wider pedagogical model of support, research and engagement feels important in the current climate of education. Being able to engage with students at Plymouth College of Art and to show my work in an art school environment gives it a vital energy.

“I’ve met other arts organisations recently whose research units are being disbanded, which really serves to highlight how important these points of artistic development and alternative engagement are to arts institutions today.”

Oliver lives and works in Bristol and studied at the Royal College of Art. The Gallery’s South West Showcase aims to uncover and celebrate the talent of contemporary artists such as Oliver who are working and living in the South West and to present a long-term commitment from Plymouth College of Art to profiling and supporting the practices of artists in the region.

Artists previously supported through this project include Hannah James, Bryony Gillard, Abigail Reynolds, Kit Poulson and Marie Toseland. This year Oliver Sutherland and Stuart Robinson have each been invited to create a solo show in The Gallery between January and March 2017.

See more of Oliver's work on his website: oliversutherland.co.uk

Photos by Dom Moore.

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