PATRICK MIKHAIL IN MONTRÉAL PRESENTS ALTERNATE FUTURES, AN EXHIBITION OF NEW WORKS BY MIAMI ARTIST AMY SCHISSEL
OCTOBER 7 TO NOVEMBER 25, 2023
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2023
2 P.M. TO 6 P.M.
PATRICK MIKHAIL in Montréal is pleased to present ALTERNATE FUTURES, an exhibition of new works by Miami artist AMY SCHISSEL. The project is part of Patrick Mikhail’s featured exhibitions during the Montreal-wide PICTURA painting biennale, which is dedicated to the presentation of contemporary painting.
In ALTERNATE FUTURES, Schissel presents a site-specific installation that advances her research and exploration into the age of digital transformation. In this latest project, Schissel addresses the radically new experiences of place driven by the multifaceted virtual worlds of digital network spaces.
As Schissel explains, given augmented reality, one can now be ”‘everywhere at once” via smart devices and wearables. There is no argument that every physical space is now also informational space, traversed by onslaughts of data streams. Alternate Futures explores the intricate dance between Artificial Intelligence and the art of cartography, converging these two realms to unveil the hidden narratives within maps and geospatial data. Here, the conflation of traditional and AI-influenced mapping systems seeks out new social cartographies and presents futuristic narratives of analog and digital worlds colliding where boundaries between countries, states, and even continents disappear.
With the aid of AI programs utilizing generative algorithms, Schissel’s Alternate Futures installation interprets the world’s landscapes and geo-political narratives. Digital tools and data-driven scientific visualizations that map data flows serve as her companions, guiding her through the intricate web of coordinates, elevations, and geographical details from which she createS harmonious fusions of technology and drawing. Mostly hand-drawn, overlays of cartographic renderings in graphite and charcoal are later teamed with machine-assisted drawing. Here, intense networks and notational systems compose a symphony of data-driven expression, and “new world” terrains’ where simultaneous journeys through the physical and cyber are delineated.
In Schissel’s exploration, AI programs inspire her to capture the ephemeral essence of time and place. Real-time data streams inform the work, allowing her to reflect on the ever-changing nature of our world—adapting to the ebb and flow of information, unveiling narratives that would otherwise remain concealed.
In terms of technique and process, Alternate Futures incorporates the use of a large wall-hanging X-Y axis pen plotting robot: a polargraph machine compatible with open-source software that “translates” the initial analog hand drawings. Initial drawings that sprawl over the entire working surface are digitized into generative images to be fed to the plotter. As it plots, Schissel intervenes by shifting the paper and masking areas as it moves across the surface. She works along with the machine, continuing to draw with pen, sharpie, and graphite.
Born from this symbiosis of human creativity and machine intelligence, the work in Alternate Futures reflects the tension between precision and abstraction. The algorithms introduce an element of unpredictability, blurring the boundaries between chaos and order, much like nature’s own patterns. Walking through this exhibition, visual journeys transcending conventional cartography invite the audience to explore both the tangible and the abstract, the real and the imagined. Through the lens of AI, we unravel the layers of meaning embedded in geographical data, uncovering the artistry hidden within the coordinates. Bridging the realms of technology and human expression, Alternate Futures invites one to contemplate the beauty and complexity of our world from a new futuristic perspective.
As the 19th century gave us radical new ways to experience and move through space with the plane, train, and automobile, Amy Schissel's work addresses our present, even more radically different, experience of space driven by the multifaceted virtual worlds of the internet’s network spaces. Her drawings, paintings and installations are infused with information friction and subscribe to modes of representation of new virtual spaces and special effects to build architectures of fictional space. Notational devices drawn from digital architecture, interaction design, and digital mapping schemata clash with exploding vectors, imploding pathways, and webs of connectivity. A walk through of her exhibitions intend to bring a spacial and bodily awareness of the many interfaces/gateways to the CLOUD’s invisible networks, intersections and connectivity infusing the everydayness of our environments connecting us across physical boundaries. She aims for the viewer to experience layered cartographies melding disparate worlds, whose multifaceted surfaces echo one’s intuitive movement and interaction in an ultra dynamic hyper-world.
Amy Schissel is a Canadian artist based in Miami, Florida.. She obtained her BFA and MFA from the University of Ottawa. Recent solo projects include site-specific drawing installations at the Orlando Museum of Art in the 2023 FLORIDA PRIZE of Contemporary Art Exhibition, NYC's ARMORY SHOW in the museum curated 'FOCUS' section, (Jamillah James, curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, LA), courtesy Montreal's Patrick Mikhail Gallery, at VISARTS Center, MD, at VOLTA International Art Fair in Basel, Switzerland, at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, PA, at VOLTA NY, NYC, and West Virginia University's Fine Art Museum. She has also exhibited projects at the Frost Art Museum, FL, Huntington Museum of Art, WV, Florida State Museum of Fine Arts, FL, Northern Illinois University Museum of Art, IL, Spartanburg Art Museum, SC, Clay Centre for the Arts and Science's Juliet Museum, WV, Manifest Creative Research Centre, OH, Perdue University's Fountain Gallery, Sjalso Studios in Sweden, the University of Brussels Art Gallery, Belgium, Jonathan Ferrera Gallery, New Orleans, and Patrick Mikhail Galleries in Montreal and Ottawa.
Schissel has been awarded multiple grants and awards for her work, including a recent Miami-Dade Individual Artist Grant, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant, a 2019 Joan Mitchell Foundation Artist Residency, and a 2017 Joan Mitchell Painting and Sculpture Award. In 2013 she received Ottawa’s Royal Bank of Canada Emerging Artist Award and in 2011 was a finalist in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition and National Exhibition, touring the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Hamilton Art Gallery, and Toronto’s Power Plant. Schissel was also Canada’s 2009 recipient of the Brucebo Foundation Fine Arts Award and Residency in Visby, Sweden.
Schissel has lectured across the country and internationally in Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Pittsburgh. Collections include Google Corp., Royal Bank of Canada, West Virginia University Museum of Fine Art, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the New Zealand Consulate, the University of Brussels, Gotland Museum of Fine Art, the City of Ottawa, and Canada’s Council for the Arts Art Bank. Schissel's projects have been supported additionally by grants from West Virginia University, the University of Miami, the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Ottawa, and the Ontario Arts Council. She is represented by PATRICK MIKHAIL in Montreal, Canada
Conceived in 2018, and launched in November 2020, Pictura aims to exhibit and highlight the best painting Montreal has to offer every three years, both in the context of private galleries, and in public and independent spaces throughout the city. Each commercial gallery exhibits solo, duo, or group exhibitions of painting, while a number of curatorial projects will take place, bringing in a variety of international painters, strengthening the network of Montreal’s artists, situating them amongst a global community of practitioners to a new degree. Pictura is a project that has been in constant development with the specific intention of collectively presenting the various formal, critical, and political positions of Montreal painting to a wider audience, with the aim of bringing international attention to Montreal, which is probably one of the central cities for painting in Canada. We strongly believe in and want to promote this idea, which will make the experience positive for all participants. Pictura does not focus on specific stylistic approaches, but rather emphasizes that the "theme" revolves around the great diversity in every sense that contemporary painting practices embody in Montreal.
Pictura prides itself on the quality of the programming of our invited guest speakers and curators, and most importantly, the showcasing of talent from the great diversity of artists in the city. The first edition of Pictura in 2020, far exceeded its goals, both artistically and in terms of its execution. Even in the face of the global pandemic that forced the closure of many institutions, which was hard to predict, the exhibitions that were able to take place were well attended. More than 30 exhibits featured the paintings of nearly 100 artists, including a number of international artists in two curated exhibitions, one of which had to be presented in virtual mode. Our scheduled speakers, esteemed writer and critic Isabelle Graw, and the CEO of blockchain.art, Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, had to be presented online due to Covid-related travel restrictions, but the talks were still a success, thanks in part to the support of the MBAM, which hosted the lecture by Ms. Graw, and was presented by Mary-Dailey Desmarais.