Rex Bruce LACDA profile – Fabrik Magazine Feb 2011

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What is California’s signature art aesthetic and who are its true innovators ? Emerging from the miasma of lowbrow’s endless parade and , the poorly funded though highly anticipated ouvre of conceptual and performance art, downtown’s Museum Of Digital Art, owned and managed by digital artist/ gallerist Rex Bruce is sustaining an esteemed reputation

Balancing a hectic regimen of art making with business and entrepreneurialist savvy is Bruce’s secret. In the face of economic and logistical challenges downtown’s the LACDA having survived over ten years at multiple locations Bruce has staged countless group and solo shows, art competitions and digitally enhanced performances and installations.

Asked about the Museum’s creative mission, Bruce confides, “Los Angeles Center For Digital Art is dedicated to the propagation of all forms of digital art, new media, digital video art, net art, digital sculpture, interactive multimedia, and the vast panorama of hybrid forms of art and technology that constitute our moment in culture.”

He adds “We are committed to supporting local, international, emerging and established artists through exposure in our gallery. We have an ongoing schedule of exhibits and competitions, produce editions of wide format archival prints, and collaborate in the production of digital artworks in our studio. As well we are involved with curating digital exhibits at institutions and festivals outside of the LACDA gallery schedule.

A successful artist in his own right, Bruce has woven the world of art and technology throughout his career, from dotcom ventures in San Francisco, through to involvement in the electronica music scene.

In addition to hosting assorted shows at his modest downtown space nestled in 5th and Main, Bruce has shown at a range of noted art institutions including a cellphone photography show at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, with additional Video and photography exhibited Laznia Center for Contemporary Art (Poland), Guggenheim Gallery (Chapman University), California Museum of Photography (U.C. Riverside), New Media Center Santa Ana, Found Gallery, Start SOMA San Francisco, Center for Political Graphics (L.A.), Niche.LA Video Art, Silver Lake Film Festival, Downtown Film Festival–Los Angeles, photoLA, photoSF, and L.A. Center for Digital Art.

Previous shows have included “Inversions,” (shown at LACDA in May 2009) and a forthcoming exhibition called “Moving Violations.” Asked about the former, Bruce says reveals “The Inversion series traces many aspects of my personal creative progression. The tone of the works is playful in form, reversing the "rules" of photography and imaging reveling in their general "badness" (another inversion that can be traced to the more arty end of the spectrum).

“Having grown up in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley (born in Encino, raised in Tarzana), I became keenly aware of the vast amount of toxic substance being ejected into our local atmosphere as a child. )

“This blankly obvious transgression against anything remotely good, healthy or appealing in any way of course spawned a bohemian inversion: environmentalist hippie types. Whole grains and carrot juice abounded to the strains of loud druggy music. The first solar panels found their way down from powering Telstar and Sputnik to provide for "off grid" geodesic domes. I remember domes, long hair and the associated ideologies sprouting up when I was a small child. Little did I know during this time some abstruse research was in its childhood as well; people were detecting a rise in temperature in our atmosphere due to carbon emissions.

“ Years later with a psyche embedded with these stark memories, I went without a car for two years and shot images and video of our injured sky through crud festooned bus windows or standing around at bus stops. I utilized fancy cell phones and obsolete digital cameras, each of which had its own characteristics in terms of the digital artifact they created. "Grunge" from the images became the raw materials I worked with. It was a formal exploration that was also expressive of the zeitgeist of my subject, the vast mechanized landscape of my city and the blue but menacing sky above it; carbon emissions are invisible.

Moving Violations, another solo show set for X this year “explores stills and video shot through dirty windows of buses, cars and trains traversing Hollywood and central L.A. and composited at different frame rates, compression levels, resolutions and varied states of digital degeneration.”

“The images are printed on canvas and over painted with translucent laquers, gels and in a cheeky artificial manner that emphasizes the negative space of the image. The resultant damage is visually appealing and painterly in texture and form while generating an atmosphere of technological and urban overkill, Los Angeles style. Highlighting exaggerated speed, cinematic over-saturation, digital grunge, widescreen aspect and voyeuristic quality The Moving Violations series creates a nostalgic movie-land mood that expresses the transportational zeitgeist of Tinseltown.

“Other videos and images chronicle his regular vehicular pathways shot from a camera mount attached to his car. They include rushing across the freeways during the day and night, rain or shine. There is endless winding and turning on journeys across town, many are akin to situationist dérives caused by erroneous directions given by GPS systems.”

“There is the camp or pop value of the drive-thru experience which is also a record of corporate unhealthiness weaving its way into our paths in a city where you pull up for your Big Mac, then drive-thru the pharmacy for your cholesterol medications. Ultimately the collection of works becomes a personal taxonomy of routes where the individual becomes a processed particle moved along the networked system that constitutes L.A. as he pursues the various functions of life.” For more information about Rex Bruce and LACDA, contact Rex Bruce, Director. Los Angeles Center For Digital Art, 107 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90013 --

Written by Craig Stephens

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