— These five images come from a body of work begun about ten years ago, and originally intended to be seen as paper prints. Their images derive from a collection of textbook illustrations and advertising art from the first half of the 20th century. The manner in which they are combined is a function of digital imaging technology, and an art heritage that goes back to Max Ernst, by way of Bruce Conner.
At a time when film, a photomechanical invention of the late nineteenth century, is being quietly put to bed, it may be interesting to think about another practice that was similarly replaced. Prior to the invention of the halftone screen, which allows photographs to be reproduced, all visual representations had to be drawn by hand, often by an engraver. The quality of vision obtained by an engraver, using photographic references, can be truly amazing. But the part I find really interesting is at that time all those people knew how to draw!
Pat O’Neill is a visual artist and filmmaker who is a native of Los Angeles and still lives near there. His film work over the last forty-some years has often been concerned with the adaptation of old images into new narrative constructions. He has also been absorbed with the ways in which language seems to alter vision, and ways in which images alter one another. Past work was in 16mm and 35mm film and collage: presently, he is working with digital video and with hand tools to make a series of tiny wooden monuments.