Shane Hope at Winkleman

Shane Hope cartoon_trace_atoms=1 2009 archival pigment print 60" x 48"



[two details of Shane Hope's 2009 48" x 48" archival pigment print, "Hyperneckerdeathcube"]

[detail of Shane Hope's 2009 48" x 48" archival pigment print, "On Graphite"]

Shane Hope's, "Your Mom Is Open Source", opened last Friday at Winkleman Gallery, and it's a doozy. I already knew this artist was on to something both "outstanding" and "unique" [cf. definition of this quaint adjective], but I hadn't seen his latest work, and until last week I could only imagine how magnificent his prints (such a modest word) would look inside a gallery, in this case a very well-lit gallery.

My photographs hardly begin to describe what can be seen on 27th Street. The actual prints of these incredibly-complex three-dimensional shapes are so luminous, their detail so extravagant, and their depths so mind-boggling, that I can't claim that these images are anything more than rough approximations of the work.

We're told that he uses customized versions of user-sponsored open-source molecular visualization systems to create the large monotypes. I can attest that the artist is able to share the extraordinary vision behind his “Mol Mods” and “Compile-a-Child" drawings*, and the "posthuman" world he imagines and and these systems describe, but my lamentable ignorance of these things means that I have to take his descriptions on faith, even after several conversations spread over several years. While I like to imagine that the gallery statement is likely to read like mind candy to some folks, I think that even if a viewer has only the most cursory acquaintance with "hard SF" this work will dazzle. I'm also pretty sure that complete scientific ignorance would not obscure its delights.

Hope has a science background (surprise!), but the array of delightful junk-wood-fabricated laptops visible in the gallery office and his fondness for his own B.C. wheel(!) suggests that his personal integration of art and science is sui generis, if not a bit bizarre.

Maybe its out of my embarrassment for my fundamental ignorance of science that, checking out the absence of [only a single] horizon in the portrayal of these magnificent organic worlds, I thought of Tiepolo's painted ceilings, with their tangle of gods heroes, chariots and horses, pink putti and broad staircases, together perched on the edges of a frame and floating in spaces assembled out of castles, cliffs and clouds. Tiepolo however didn't have to deal with an audience which could examine the details of his creation from the distance of only a handspan.

The work is boldly conceptual, highly technical and dazzlingly beautiful. It would be more than worthy for its success with each of these purposes, but with their combined triumph Hope's art is a wonder.

Shane Hope to be Imortel 2009 graphite and crayon on paper 12" x 9" [installation view]

More links:

DistribuDeev Data-Debased Dark Matter of Infactious Informorphically-Biorouted Hick-Hacker Hortus Humanus Electricus, Aeonomically Autoscient Artillectual Anthropos/Implementa GraviTV and an Acceluture Future-Pharmada of Ornamentally-Challenged Molecula Modula

Termite Art for Terminators

Decoding Shane Hope


  • I neglected to mention that Barry and I were introduced to Shane Hope's work by Stephen Lichty, an exciting artist and curator recently returned to New York from Tuscany, where he was director of Project Gentili in Prato, outside Florence.
  • While I was at the opening reception I was so carried away with the color prints that I missed capturing images of Hope's b/w work, either the computer-generated prints or freehand drawings on paper. I've added below a thumbnail detail of his "Goo(f) Ball No π, dark matter demarcations on lesser dimensional bits of tree, year wheneverafter" (which is not in the current show), snapped on a visit to his studio in August, 2007. As I recall, the entire image is only a few inches across.


Great images!