John Gerrard: New Work in New Media

  October –
November 2003

Image by John Gerrard from the exhibition ‘New Work in New Media’ at Gallery of Photography Ireland, October 23 – November 30 2003.

John Gerrard has created an important body of radical and experimental work. It breaks new ground in our understanding of the time-honoured genre of portraiture. Gerrard’s portraits are not photographs or videos, they are the new medium of realtime 3D objects, a kind of ‘sculptural photography’ or ‘new cinema’.

These technologically sophisticated works offer a rigorous conceptual engagement with the fundamentals of portraiture. They are also a lot of fun to experience and interact with.

The main work, entitled Portrait Diptych presents a kind of impossible, responsive mirror: two portraits of the same androgynous character are presented on two pivoted touch-screens. The viewer can change their expressions – make them blink, frown or smile, for example. When the screens are turned to face one another, the two portrait characters interact.

Image from John Gerrard's exhibition 'New Work in New Media' at the Gallery of Photography 2003

Image from John Gerrard’s exhibition ‘New Work in New Media’ at the Gallery of Photography 2003

Saddening Portrait plays with the new temporalities possible in 3D media: here, a portrait progressively saddens in appearance over 100 years, beginning on the opening night of the show. This work is presented on a prototype device consisting of a mini PC, touchscreen and custom-designed housing. This solution is designed to allow works of this nature to be easily installed in domestic spaces. Indeed, this piece has already been purchased for a private collection.

On the upper level of the gallery, the artist has conceived of the entire space as a ‘Viewing Platform’ onto a photorealistic 3D landscape encircling the building. Gerrard’s viewing platform presents illusionistic ‘windows’ onto the landscape which was commissioned from Martin Brunker, a virtual landscape specialist.

About the artist: John Gerrard, brn 1974, Tipperary. Currently based in Dublin. Recently completed a long term artists residency in the world renowned Ars Electronica Futurelab in Austria. He has a MSc Multimedia (TCD); MA Fine Art (School of the Art Institute of

Chicago); BA Sculpture (The Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, Oxford). He has exhibited internationally with upcoming shows in Bejing, Singapore, Madrid and London. He has received numerous awards and scholarships, including a Gallery of Photography Development Bursary for the work in this exhibition.

Image from John Gerrard's exhibition 'New Work in New Media' at the Gallery of Photography 2003

Image from John Gerrard’s exhibition ‘New Work in New Media’ at the Gallery of Photography 2003