Miltos Manetas: First Gallery

By Janus, Elizabeth | Artforum International, November 2007 | Go to article overview

Miltos Manetas: First Gallery


Janus, Elizabeth, Artforum International


Miltos Manetas is known as much for his advocacy of computer-generated and Web art as he is for his subversive and innovative tactics, as when he created an alternate website for the Whitney Biennial's genuine one in 2002, substituting work by his friends for that of the officially selected artists. A true believer in technology's aesthetic potential, he is intent on reinventing traditional pictorial methods--specifically, painting and drawing--by using the computer's capabilities and limitations to turn ordinary, Pop-inspired objects (video games and their characters, computer cables, screens, Apple Quick-Take cameras, etc.) into motifs but also stylistic models, painting them as if seen on-screen.

In this exhibition, Manetas showed fifteen large-scale computeraided "drawings" made between 2003 and 2006, along with an unrelated video. Slightly more conventional than Manetas's other work, the drawings seem to take as their subject adolescent female ennui. Their protagonists are identified as "Girl," "Chinese Girl," "Priscilla," or "Jane" in titles that include Chinese Girl in the Desert, 2004, and Priscilla with Gary Hume, 2005. The "girls" are depicted individually, sometimes cropped, in a variety of poses: reclining, reading, smoking, standing with a dog, looking at a computer screen, and so on. In their seeming vacuity and languid posturing, they could be starker, simplified versions of Elizabeth Peyton's portraits or Karen Kilimnik's cartoony, fashion mag-inspired drawings: young, lissome women, physically attractive and possibly (or almost) famous.

The images, which look like rough, preliminary sketches, mostly in black and white (though some have flecks or flashes of blue, red, or yellow), were made via a process Manetas first began using in the mid-'90s. The "drawing" is first created on a computer, with standard graphic software; it is then printed, with an ink-jet printer, onto letter-size glossy paper. …

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