Artist of the Week: Jordan Tate

Jordan Tate is an artist and professor at the University of Cincinnati. He has been there for four years, and has really enjoyed the opportunity to work with an amazing set people across a variety of disciplines. Jordan relocated to Cincinnati from Calgary, Canada for his job at the University. The majority of his work over the past five years has dealt with the implications of the photographic image as an integral component in how we disseminate and accept knowledge.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I’ve recently just completed a two-year project called SUPERBLACK that is now on view at the Transformer Station in Cleveland, OH. The show is a philosophical survey of sorts, on blackness, photography, and epistemology. I also created a monograph that informs the work and provides some context for the exhibition, our historical and cultural understandings of darkness, and some non light-based imagery of Carbon Nanotubes. The book is available here, and text about the exhibition can be found here.

Describe your current studio or workspace? Given the myriad processes I deal with and various collaborations I have underway I do not keep a centralized studio. If anything, my laptop functions as my primary studio and I work with the facilities at the University of Cincinnati, with Atelier Boba in Paris, and various commercial vendors. This is a fairly new mode of working for me as I have historically worked with a physical studio, but as my work shifted, the primary purpose of the studio was to hang works that had already been produced elsewhere.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Following the SUPERBLACK exhibition, I have started delving into the photograph as a mode of understanding that significantly alters understanding regardless of a discussion of photographic veracity. A great example of this is New Work #194 and #195, both of these images read as microscopic photographs or paintings, but the process by which they are made belies notions of perception. They are images (if I can use the word) made by a scanning electron microscope, which essentially means that they are made by measuring and recording reflected electrons and not, as they would appear, by the capture of reflected light. This gets at the heart of some concerns that I will try to get at with future works—namely how we utilize imagery to construct belief, and what affect it has on our world view.

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Hands down, it has to be with SUPERBLACK. The piece is a monolith (12″ x 12″ x 72″) that has a 4.5″ hole at eye level, which is the darkest hole you will ever see (this is the centerpiece of the exhibition). After a week or so, the staff a the Transformer Station put up a sign that reads “DO NOT TOUCH OR INSERT HAND INTO THE BLACK HOLE”. I was particularly pleased that regardless of the firm conventions of museum viewing, people felt compelled to stick their hands inside of a black hole.

Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I am currently exhibition in three shows:

SUPERBLACK at the Transformer Station
Fragments of an Unknowable Whole at the Urban Arts Space in Columbus, OH
I Like it, But What Is It at the Drake Hotel in Toronto.

What artists are you interested in right now? That is a tough question with a potentially easy answer. I make my aesthetic preferences public at ilikethisart.net with the help of two other fantastic artists, Jacob Riddle and Wyatt Niehaus.