For his exhibition American Glitch, on view through March 8 at the University of Montevallo's Bloch Art Gallery, Alan Skees revisited the slit scan, that photographic technique beloved by creators and directors fascinated with filmically altering images in the perceived field. Skees does this through using an app, and digital manipulation, which allow him to capture a vast amount of information. He then compiles new images from specific sets of pixels as if he were slicing and reassembling a sheet of paper. Like a bastardization of Étienne-Jules Marey via Muybridge, Skees reconstructs everything from urban sprawl, spartan streetscapes, and vast tracts of the seemingly endless agricultural desolation of middle America, making everything stutter and jump in the process.
At his best, Skees creates pseudoabstractions that push these digital manipulations toward the realm of second-generation color field paintings. In particular, his Hampton Road Bridge-Tunnel works feel like the unexpected, technical successors to the painterly quietude of Morris Louis. Finding comfortable visuals within these masses of fragments is challenging, and the fact that Skees pursues this approach in opposition to the pastoral of the American Regionalists should be lauded. In an age in which our understandings of both the 'natural' and the 'real' are strained at best, the notion of shattering their representations in advance seems doubly ironic.
Alan Skees, American Glitch: Neo Regionalism - Highways - I-459 - Alabama 2 (2017), 36 x 12 inches, digital slit-scan ink jet print