Claudia Hart

Artist Statement


I was trained to be an art historian and then studied architecture and historic preservation at Columbia University, ultimately writing an architectural history thesis. After graduating, I was a professional art critic, first at ID, the design magazine, and then at Artforum where I was reviews editor. This was followed by 15 years of practice both as a critic and an exhibiting artist, showing paintings and photography within the contemporary art milieu. This classically art-based practice was followed by a period in which I published and wrote illustrated graphic novels, then returned to school to study computer animation at NYU's Center for Advanced Digital Applications. In my present incarnation, I make animated films and am a professor of animation and special effects. I feel that the compositing of a visual artistic language - utilizing only high-end virtual reality techniques ? over art-history training directly impacts the conceptual underpinning of my work.

My work transposes discussions about digital technology and a materialist critique of media by passing it through a metaphoric and feminist lens. In the context of ideas about a technology that has replaced nature by threatening to eclipse and permanently alter it, I would like to argue that contemporary ideas and practices concerning nature and technology are not a rupture but remain closely bound with religious ways of thinking. What is functionally an all-male engineering culture - what the historian of technology David Noble has identified as "a world without woman" ? produces a high-tech ethos that actually emerges from medieval Christian monasteries and is still driven by an unconscious millennial desire to recreate the world afresh, without women and outside of nature, and therefore also outside of the contamination of Original Sin.

In the absence of women, the masculinist clerical culture of technology, colored by the Christian Millennialism, defines the impulse behind much of technological development, from atomic weaponry and space exploration to cybernetics and robotics. This impulse is one of both annihilation and of purification. Such values still pervade technological research and influence its visual manifestations, particularly in relation to the realm of the body, an example being the typically hyper-erotic femme fatale populating mass-culture representations in the technological milieu. By creating virtual images that are sensual though not pornographic within mechanized, clockwork depictions of the natural, I try to expand upon earlier dichotomies of woman and nature pitted against a civilized, "scientific" and masculine self.

Claudia Hart Bio

Claudia Hart is an artist who has received numerous fellowships, exhibiting widely. Her work is in the collection of MOMA and the Met and she has published three illustrated books. In 1998, after showing painting for 15 years, she began to work with 3D animation - which she exhibits in the form of multi-channel installations. She also makes photographs integrating 3D characters and effects. In addition to showing in galleries and museums she is writing and illustrating several new books and teaches digital animation at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.