Video Art is the New Black

Greta Chapin McGill - September 13, 2013

'Technology is an art form waiting to be explored.'

The Venice Biennale is an explosion of video presentations proporting to make one think, feel and envision many things.  I became acquainted with this art form when I saw an exhibit of work by Korean American artist Nam June Paik at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
Paik is considered the founder of video art and continues to inspire many contemporary video artists.  Many of the artists exhibiting in Venice used video as a medium to convey their ideas.  Among my favorites were The Argentinian Pavilion, a stunningly poignant installation depicting the life of Eva Peron, and the Venezuelan Pavilion’s installation interpreting urban life.  These two presentations gave the mind and eye a complete experience of art, color, culture and history.  
Video art is not my favorite medium because it can only be viewed once as a gallery or museum installation or bought as a DVD collectible.  It isn’t the kind of art one hangs in ones home to enjoy whenever.  Recently I had the privilege to view a video art exhibition at the New Mexico Museum of Art by Peter Sarkisian.  This exhibit opened my eyes to the possibilities of owning and enjoying video art on a personal level.  
His completely compact and thought provoking pieces are stunning.  I could see them in an eclectic home--a home where the owner lives to be open to art in all forms.  Sarkisian is a genius in this art form.  He pulls the viewer into his world.  A place so fascinating it is impossible to look away.
Art is erotic. Sarkisian takes the sensuous combination of a woman’s body turning and floating in small bowl of white water and makes you stare at it intently.  I wanted to take it home with me.  I could have found a place for it on a marble column in the corner of my living room to be admired anytime.  There is a book which shows Sarkisian crawling out of the spine. He crawls over the pages changing words, crossing them out with his pencil and writing his own dictionary and commentary.  If you turn the page, he is there crossing out more words.  It is a piece capable of captivating the imagination for hours. 
Sarkisian lives and works here in Santa Fe.  He studied at the California Institute of the Arts and The American Film Institute.  His work is a perfect marriage of movable art, light and color.  Thought provoking pieces drawing the viewer into his world and daring you to leave it unmoved.  His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as well as many venues in Santa Fe and world wide. 
The unexpected color and imagery playing a game of tag between your eye and your imagination. Technology is an art form waiting to be explored.  Sarkisian is a perfect example of a contemporary artist developing something new, exciting and lasting.