When importing landscape footage from Scotland into the computer in 2001, then subsequently examining it, I noticed a corrupted frame amongst the hundreds I looked at. By corrupted frame, I mean a scrambled, abstracted image embedded and surrounded by more representational images. For example, in one second of footage of the Scottish landscape, (18 frames), there was this one frame of digital noise. Most of the time, this frame would be discarded. A mistake. I saw this as an opportunity to synthesize some of my ideas on the process and materiality of how images are made.
The title, how to survive your own death came about after a conversation with the poet Bernard Welt. We had been talking about how we sometimes are more invested in the making of something than in the finished result. This led to a conversation about the nature of photography. How we look at photographs and, while knowing it is a piece a paper with ink or chemicals on it, are easily transported to the very place and time that the photograph represents. Photographs have the potential to transcend a particular fixed place or time. Photographs embed time, freeze it, and carry it forward. Each time it is looked upon, it lives, with new eyes giving life to the fixed image. This is most common with family snaps, and it was in that spirit that I wanted the how to survive your own death series to be indicative of.
My work in the last few years has concentrated on a select few forms. I have chosen certain shapes that I use in repetition to create larger objects. For example, I have developed a hollow fluted shape constructed of wood, which I fabricate in multiples, stack, and glue to create a mass. This “mass” takes on variations; from a hoop shape resembling a skirt, to a dense circular ring resting on the floor, to an arch beginning at floor level and rising up to barely meet the wall. The sculptures can incorporate from a few dozen to over a thousand components, each component made up of its own multiple parts.
Each shape is measured, cut, and assembled by hand, resulting in subtle irregularities. When aggregated into a complete form, the sum of the repeated shapes exhibits a staggered and constantly changing pattern. The initial form of the sculpture is created with wood and glue, and may be later covered with wood putty to add rigidity. The object is coated with multiple layers of beeswax in order to create a smooth, rich, and seamless surface. In giving the sculpture a seamless and unified surface, I allude to naturally occurring forms, which on first glance appear seamless, but when examined closely, reveal creases or folds or other irregularities indicating their origin.
"Let’s not pretend there’s anything rational about abstract painting, at least not the good ones. The bad ones make plenty of sense. And, Jason Gubbiotti’s new paintings are anything but rational….Gubbiotti tells me he isn’t looking to arrive at a point of completion and declaration, but rather a moment of transition and flux…. Gubbiotti approaches his work more inline with the abstract expressionists. He inserts a process that permits decisions to be made on the painting, and after often edits them by painting over forms or at times the entire surface. The end result is a painting that reveals its own personal history -- moments where mistakes have been made and then repaired."
I was an Atari kid, and even before that I consumed a steady diet of after-school Star Trek, Ultraman, and Speed Racer. Computers, like Kabbalism or Alchemy, offered the supernatural promise of wholes-greater-than-the-sum-of-their-parts. Before they were a part of my daily, waking life, they were a part of my mythology, alongside Wagnerian heroes, Japanese monsters, and animated mice.
To invoke computers is to bind one’s work to unique aspects of our time; on one hand, management systems and statistical analyses which homogenize and dehumanize, and on the other, simulations that can locate hidden opportunities, new vistas.
My current work-in-progress, an encyclopedic but loose history of Washington DC, embodies questions about how we organize our communities, what principle we adhere to as we re-invent urban spaces, and how we convey those principles to future generations. In addressing these questions, the work becomes a case study, not just for DC, but cities everywhere.
Most of my art is hand drawn graphite or charcoal, and more recently silverpoint. Though I love the drawn line, I also love the non-drawn line - the gaps, the incomplete spaces that the eye leaps across. I find myself compelled by the ambiguous and implied, rather than the explicit and certain.
I have long wrestled with the fragility of paper as a substrate, with it's vulnerability to moisture, and it's need to be behind glass, which does something to lessen the sense of intimacy for the viewer.
Some years ago, I began making marks directly on the gessoed surface of wooden panels. The panels are carefully crafted first, thoughtfully proportioned and lovingly assembled as if they were a piece of mid-century Danish furniture. I then draw directly on the gessoed top surface, and when finished I apply either matte varnish or hand wax the surface in order to protect the drawing.
I occasionally make forays into wood constructions as well.
de-identified examines the impact of facial recognition technology on individual privacy. Using augmented portraits of 19th century women and an imagined narrative, de-identified explores how to conceal facial features to avoid image detection.
In search of a more progressive life, 19th century American women are transported into the 21st century only to find they are being tracked 24 hours by facial recognition software. In an effort to block this technology, they collectively devise ways to alter the symmetry of their faces using face paint and avant-garde hairstyles. Inspired by African tribal face painting, Maori tattoos, Chinese opera masks, Amazonian Kayapo markings and colorful animal patterns, they obscure their facial features to confuse the surveillance cameras.