“these people become sublime gods in the digital realm”
Color has a language as vast as its own spectrum, and the origins of this language are embedded in the ancient arts of our world. The Kente cloth is empowered by color, intensity, shape and pattern. This textile carries a sacred aesthetic message – a register of status, experience, values and beliefs — that only certain people may access. I see parallels in this age-old vehicle of meaning and contemporary portals of social and cultural influence.
Today we are confronted by an onslaught of messages, each activated by an agenda. Mass media shapes our judgement using the system of color, sound, and intensity as a means to seduce us and access our subconscious. These codes and frequencies leverage our decisions and ideas by restructuring our frames of looking at the world. My work explores human reaction and interaction with the magnetic force of subliminal content. I expose SMPTE color bars — agents of light and sound on a television screen — as agents of these codes and languages.
I traced my steps back to that first real encounter, as a child transfixed by a video game. My own initiation into virtual reality came by way of a joystick, the source of fusion between my physical being and an artificial world of codes and frequencies. Recollections of this exchange fuel my work: What happens in the integration of our physical existence and our virtual reality?
Today, computers are living and coexisting with us. We transmit our human intentions via a digital object. We relay our lives and interpret our world through metal and plastic and HD and LCD. The intensity of color and the instantaneousness of form is as powerful as it’s ever been — as is the influence of messages from those who hold onto the reigns.
I hold a Kente cloth next to SMPTE bars, and the intensity is almost exact. Although these objects exist in opposing mediums, they correspond in their visual agendas — they work to condition us in the social order of things. The truth is that color and form and intensity have influenced how humans relate to each other since the beginning of time. But this new system is aggressive; it’s a different breed as the codes and frequencies begin to activate on their own.
Yet, these elements have dismantled the barriers and the frameworks that have separated humans from each other. You may now exist uninhibited in the digital world; no place is out of reach, no information is inaccessible, no idea is isolated. In this cyber society, we are interconnected.
The works of AfriCOBRA artists have resonated with me from early on; as a child, I could see their sound. The dynamic aesthetic, oversaturated in color and form, created a new dimension of intensity and in that a new language of power. Messages are animated by glowing, radiating energy. Frank Stella and Jasper Johns also spoke “the code” before computers became home devices, exposing the elements and frequencies that now make up our digital world.
Digital is the medium of my time. I am a digital painter. In my images, I examine elements of virtual reality in the context of human experience — then I cut them up, and reconfigure the pieces to present a translation of the codes and frequencies. These pieces take on a new form and meaning, existing in negative and positive space and bridging the gap between physical and virtual, real and synthetic.
“Stan Squirewell is constantly pushing digital media forward while staying rooted in cultural contributions from the African Diaspora, creating a vocabulary that fuses ancient forms and spiritual symbols with contemporary technology to positively envision the future. His most recent works bind the virtual world with physical reality, as he paints directly onto his printed images, illustrating the travels of a personal spiritual journey.”
– Violet Morris, International Visions Gallery