With the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech about to begin its performance and exhibition seasons inside the newly christened Moss Arts Center, it’s been a New River Valley-themed week here on the arts beat. But I didn’t want a few other on-campus exhibitions to go unnoticed.
The Virginia Tech School of Visual Arts Armory Art Gallery opens the new show “Two Trees” today. It’s a dual exhibition by California digital artist Jennifer Steinkamp and New York sculptor Rona Pondick that demonstrates how technology and art mix.
Steinkamp works in digital animation, creating short films that are projected on gallery walls like living paintings. Her contribution, titled “Judy Crook 3,” shows a computer-created loop of a tree, waving its branches hypnotically as it goes through all the changes of the seasons in about a minute’s time. The works in the “Judy Crook” series are named after a professor of color theory at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.
Steinkamp’s presence in “Two Trees” ties the show to the art exhibitions opening Monday at the Center for the Arts. Her digital animation “Madame Curie” will fill the center’s downstairs gallery.
At first glance, Pondick’s “Two Trees” contribution, “Dwarfed White Jack,” appears to be the more traditional of the two pieces. It is a painted bronze sculpture of a small tree. A closer look, though, reveals that the buds at the ends of the tree’s branches are tiny human heads — miniature portraits of the artist. Pondick combines traditional and state-of-the-art methods, using computer design software and 3-D printing technology to create the molds used to cast her sculptures.