August 14, 2015

Concepts and Challenges: AAC Resident Artist Roxana Alger Geffen’s Screenshot

The White Smudge, 11 x 14 in. Inkjet on Fujifilm deep matte paper. 2015.
The White Smudge, 11 x 14 in. Inkjet on Fujifilm deep matte paper. 2015.

AAC Resident Artist Roxana Alger Geffen is a currently showing Screenshot, a solo exhibition, in the Wyatt Resident Artists Gallery on the Upper Level called.

Screenshot diverges from the work she’s been focused on for the majority of her career, and as “terrifying” as it is, Roxana is also excited and energized by the way this body of work reflects the myriad of details, structures, and particulars of her domestic life.

 

What might seem like minutiae is anything but trivial in the active life of parents with young children. This work looks at the many places where Minecraft exploration and real-life exploration overlap, visually, emotionally and structurally. We asked Roxana two questions about this show, and here’s what she had to say:

What is the concept of the show?

Songs from the Big Chair, 11 x 14 in. Inkjet on Fujifilm deep matte paper. 2015.
Songs from the Big Chair, 11 x 14 in. Inkjet on Fujifilm deep matte paper. 2015.

I have become interested in the structure of domestic life, the schedules and patterns which order a life with small children.

Over the years, I have drawn up dozens of spreadsheets detailing babysitting hours, pick-up schedules, after-school activities.

They are often complex, multi-page documents with attached phone lists, addresses, lists of deviations like holidays and trips.

 

These files are like blueprints for logistical architecture that support the growth and pleasure and productivity of the family.

The computer game Minecraft serves as an excellent medium for representing these domestic structures. In its simplest mode, it can be thought of as a virtual, three-dimensional, animated Lego world: you have access to all the game’s resources and few limits on what you can create.

Creation takes place in a virtual landscape, which is both surprisingly realistic and beautiful in its color palette, its attention to visual detail, its weather, its rising and setting sun and moon, and peculiarly unique as the entire world is made up of cubes.

What were the challenges of developing and mounting a solo show?

Lena's Magritte, 11 x 14 in. Inkjet on Fujifilm deep matte paper. 2015.
Lena’s Magritte, 11 x 14 in. Inkjet on Fujifilm deep matte paper. 2015.

This show has been thrilling and terrifying to put together. As a painter, I think of my work as the product of my hand, of my direct contact with an object. The physical process of manipulating paint and other materials, of dealing with their limitations is at the core of my practice.

In this show, though, many of the pieces are digital prints, so the final pieces arrive from the printers in a box, untouched by me, and it’s totally weird.

The other strange aspect of creating this show is the amount of time I’ve spent in the world of Minecraft. It’s odd to have a very addictive amusement as part of my work practice and makes procrastination very very time-consuming and dangerous, because it’s so easy to convince myself it’s just work. Minecraft’s visual world is complex and idiosyncratic and has a very long half-life in my brain.

Red, Right, Returning, 11 x 14 in. Inkjet on Fujifilm deep matte paper. 2015.
Red, Right, Returning, 11 x 14 in. Inkjet on Fujifilm deep matte paper. 2015.

If I’ve been playing Minecraft or even working with the imagery a lot, the visual boundary between the two worlds gets more porous. I am constantly noticing real-world objects and building that seem—for an instant—to be made of Minecraft blocks.

Everything I’m doing in this show feels very unfamiliar to me, which I love. I’m excited to be off in a new direction, even though it’s so unexpected.


About the Artist:

Roxana Alger Geffen
Roxana Alger Geffen

Roxana Alger Geffen is a painter and mixed-media artist, in her second year at AAC. She grew up in New York, and majored in art at Columbia University, and received an MFA in painting from Boston University . She now lives in Washington, DC with her husband and three children. She recently exhibited in shows in New York, NY; Atlanta, GA; Colorado; and Washington, DC, including Emulsion at EastCity Arts/Gallery H on O.

Screenshot is on view in the Wyatt Resident Artists Gallery on the Upper Level until August 23. Stop by and see it! Our galleries are always free and open to the public, Wed – Sun, noon – 5 pm. You’ll also be able to see Roxana’s work in Yes, and, a group show curated by Caitlin Tucker-Melvin, opening August 29.

In Conversation: Nekisha Durrett + Zaq Landsberg

Saturday / April 27 / 1pm-3pm

Innovation Studio + Store

Join artists Zaq Landsberg and Nekisha Durrett for a conversation about the rewards and challenges of public art and the complex nature of monuments and memorials.

Performances by Isa Leal & Liz Ensz + Skye Fort in conversation with NO GRIDS NO MASTERS

Saturday / April 20 / 6pm-8pm

MoCA Arlington

An evening of performances by Isa Leal and Liz Ensz + Skye Fort in conversation with Ensz’s exhibition NO GRIDS NO MASTERS currently on view at MoCA Arlington.

2024 Art Classes for Kids, Teens, and Adults!

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Less than 2 weeks left to register! Sign up today to secure your spot in one of MoCA Arlington’s award-winning programs! From drawing and painting to ceramics and mixed media, you are sure to find an inspiring art class. Enrich your creative journey with our talented instructors and explore the world of art in a fun and supportive environment.

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