All Exhibitions

Liquid Crystal by Rick Silva

Apr 19–Jul 7, 2024

The Closet

Nature and Ecology -
As art became more and more about concept into the second half of the 20th century, artists like Robert Smithson and Walter DeMaria began to think about the natural world as a canvas for the creation of art. Many artists since have expanded on the contributions of these so-called “Earth Artists” to make work that investigates the collision of nature and culture in ever more complex ways. Issues around ecology, technology, and the future of human civilization have now become fodder for artistic exploration. Saint Kate’s current cycle of exhibitions features artists who use the natural world as a source of inspiration, engaging viewers in an examination of how human culture and the natural world co-exist in interesting and peculiar ways.

Rick Silva’s Liquid Crystal is a series of seven videos, one for each day of the week, that explore the relationship between natural and technological environments. Each of the videos starts with a view of a natural surface—such as earth with leaves and moss, sand, gravel, snow, and a broken sheet of ice—the artist’s hands then push aside to reveal a screen with colorful synthesized video patterns and effects. As an electronic optical device using the light-modulating properties of liquid crystals, the liquid crystal display already employs natural phenomena and materials. The video series builds on this connection by alluding to the natural cycles of sunrise and sunset and the seasonal changes captured on the surfaces. The extraction of natural resources is a recurring motif in Silva’s work; in Liquid Crystal, the artist, whose grandfather was a diamond miner in Brazil, quite literally digs into nature to reveal video patterns in the technological environment of The process of digging into the ground unfolds both a past and points to the technologies that will be built from raw materials in the future, interweaving strands of time. Silva’s hands both function as a metaphor for artistic creation and suggest the manual labor in“mining” natural environments to support technological systems.

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