Curated by Linda Shearer
Tony Oursler is one of the preeminent video installation artists of his generation. Throughout a nearly 30-year career, Oursler has skillfully blended video, sculpture, performance, and audio compositions to engaging and uncanny ends. Oursler’s sculptures frequently explore the intricacies of the human psyche. The strategically installed works here in the Dr. Stanley & Mickey Kaplan Halldemonstrate the variety of forms that Oursler uses as “performers” in his installations. From life-size figures to dolls and amorphous forms, each of these objects and their attendant projected personalities act out specific monologues. Unlike some types of video art, Oursler’s technique of projecting onto sculpted forms allows the video to escape from the confines of the monitor or the rectangular screen. Their presence in the gallery space confronts the viewer as they call out to us and demand our attention.
Oursler’s works from the 1990s such as those exhibited here – Keep Going (1995) and Insomnia (1996) – project talking heads onto soft doll-like forms. These works directly engage the concept of object as performer. Oursler’s recent work – represented here by Cloud (2004) and Blown(2005) – delve deeper into the psychological core of his figures, suggesting the primordial formation of the psyche. These four installations are placed throughout the street level Kaplan Hall to encourage the exploration of the space and engage passersby on the corner of Sixth and Walnut Streets.
Tony Oursler was born in 1957 in New York. His work in the mediums of video, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, drawing and painting has been exhibited extensively in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain; the Museo D’Arte Contemporanea, Rome, Italy; and Magasin 3 in Stockholm, Sweden. Oursler’s pioneering work in new and emerging media includes internet-based projects found on www.tonyoursler.com.