Shohei Katayama's "Sustain(ED)"

Hite Art Institute is showing two concurrent exhibitions this winter that consider weighty topics: ecology and digital technology.

“Unseen: Visualizing Ecological Systems,” at Schneider Hall Galleries on campus, explores the intersections of art and ecology with sculptures and drawings by Stephen Cartwright and Shohei Katayama.

Shohei Katayama

The exhibition, curated by critical and curatorial studies master’s candidate Madison Sevilla, is on display now through Feb. 24 and has garnered high praise.

“This is extremely strong work. It’s a great show,” said Chris Reitz, Hite’s director of galleries.

Cartwright is a professor and associate director for the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. His work uses data from his life (such as wind patterns, temperature and precipitation measured against his activity and mental health) to make sculptures that function as self-portraits.

Stephen Cartwright

Katayama is a Japanese American artist based in Louisville and has shown at the Asia Institute Crane House and PYRO Gallery. He uses materials such as magnets and iron flakes to create pieces that reflect events in nature, like disasters and pollution.  

“Cartwright and Katayama offer visualizations of the infinite and continuous ecologies that constitute our routines,” Sevilla said.

Tabor Robak
Tabor Robak

Hite’s next exhibition, “Painting in the Network: Algorithm and Appropriation,” is Feb. 10-April 8 at the Cressman Center for Visual Arts, 100 E. Main Street. It features the work of seven contemporary artists whose work stands at the crossroads of painting and digital technology.

“Most of these artists are very talented computer programmers —talent evidenced by their elaborate digital compositions and sophisticated algorithms,” Reitz said.  

Tabor Robak’s “Darkroom” (2016) for example, looks like a large hanger on a spaceship as seen through an endlessly moving, living windowpane. Although his images look like video games, they also maintain aesthetic and compositional concerns that affirm his work is part of the long history of modern painting.

Siebren Versteeg

“Painting in the Network” includes work by artists from across the globe: Siebren Versteeg, Gabriel Orozco, Cory Arcangel, Tabor Robak, Davis Rhodes, Laeh Glenn and Alex Dodge.

The opening reception is 6-8 p.m. Feb. 10.

Niki King
Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.