New media artist Carla Gannis uses signs from our everyday speech and images from our everyday experiences to create her modern digital collage —The Garden of Emoji Delights that resonates with the revolutionary triptych —The Garden of Earthly Delights by 16th-artist Hieronymus Bosch. Where Bosch showed the frailty of humans in a space he peopled with the religious symbols of his time, Gannis looks to the digital symbols of our own time to critique consumerism. Gannis, who teaches art that moves across digital platforms and enlivens Apps, is at home, too, within Bosch’s triplicate world of Eden, Earth, and Hell. The temptations over the centuries are the same but not the images: Gannis transforms Bosch’s cavorting nude sinners into cuddly, rounded emojis, whose real natures are not perceived as threatening, at first.
Carla Gannis: The Garden of Emoji Delights June 6 – September 26, 2015
Bosch’s high Google profile and appeal to surrealists caught Gannis’s attention, and opened the way for her to use pop pictographs to reconstruct the earlier triptych and its enduring message that the wicked are punished.
Gannis’s adventure into the brave new world of emoticoms, whose seeming simplicity pulls us back to the pictographs of hieroglyphics and even cave paintings, is also a questioning: which signs, symbols, and codes, today, best convey the truths the contemporary artist wants to tell?
Carla Gannis, originally from Oxford, North Carolina, today lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received a BFA in painting from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MFA in painting from Boston University. In the late 1990s she began to incorporate digital technologies into her work, and in 2005 she was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Grant in Computer Arts. Currently she is a professor and assistant chairperson of The Department of Digital Arts at Pratt Institute.