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The Artistic Semantics of Syntax

New exhibition opens today at Photographic Resource Center


Click on the slide show above to hear Matthew Swarts, Meggan Gould, and Mark Stock talk about their work.

Cell phones, computers, billboards, and televisions are no longer just a digital window to the world — they are life’s landscape.

Artist Meggan Gould calls it screen culture. “I’ve always had an obsession with it,” she says. “How we’re using and looking at and absorbing screen information all the time in our daily life.”

She is one of the artists whose work appears in the Photographic Resource Center’s latest exhibition, Syntax, part of the biennial Boston Cyberarts Festival. The festival is a collaboration of North American artists working in new technologies, encompassing visual arts, dance, music, electronic literature, Web art, and public art.

The exhibition brings together photography and related media, using digital processing or selection. Artists showing are Patti Ambrogi, Leigh Brodie, Benno Friedman, Gould, Brian Piana, Mark J. Stock, Luke Strosnider, and Matthew Swarts.

Gould’s work is created through Google images searches. Once she picks a word, she compiles the first 100 images that emerge and organizes them through a coding program. Sometimes, she says, she faces an image of “brown, pixilated mush.” The images included in the PRC exhibition “are the ones that quote, unquote, worked,” showing a fuzzy reproduction of iconic images like the Mona Lisa and a Coke can.

Gould is not alone in her coding-as-paintbrush world, says Stock. “Traditionally, artists have used the physics of paint and brushes to add texture and detail to their images,” he says, “but I write complicated computer programs that add the details I can’t visualize until after the artwork is completed.”

Syntax is at the Photographic Resource Center through May 10. The opening reception is on Thursday, April 2, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The PRC, 832 Commonwealth Ave., is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and closed Monday. Admission is $3 for the general public, $2 for students and seniors, and free to the BU community. For more information, click here or call 617-975-0600. The opening reception is free and open to the public.

Kimberly Cornuelle can be reached at kcornuel@bu.edu.

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