The beautiful edit

Paul Pfeiffer’s ArtPace Exhibition

April, 2003

Paul Pfeiffer’s newest work on display at San Antonio’s ArtPace offers the viewer a contemplative experience unlike any other. His removal of many visual elements from both still photos and video serves as his primary expressive stroke. With this tool, he is able to strip from a basketball image all commercialism and ties to reality allowing the image to exist as the human moment that it really is. The subtle lighting of this piece piques the viewer’s interest across the dimly lit room as well as directly in front of the medium sized digital print. This is an image made of honest amazement.

The video works are very well installed and effective as silent, short loops displayed at a small scale. This intimacy gives rise to enjoying each piece as an individual moment both within yourself and within the piece. This powerful combination is intensified by Pfeiffer’s interesting subject choices; a floating crown dances about in place of a would-be interview like a marionette of an invisible king and a security guard slips a small smile while camera flashes erupt around him.

The least successful of the bunch is one whose original video footage is of Michael Jackson dancing. This piece seems to be little more than a digital mirroring effect put on some stock footage. It does not exude the care taken with the rest, but is nonetheless an interesting visual experience. It would have been much more successful had it also been installed a mere 6 inches lower because the LCD is hard to see at any angle other than in front.

Digital Craftsman

The work shows a technical prowess with the materials and a sensitivity to the audience’s need for connection with the pieces. His use of basketball and television footage gives an immediate access point for viewers. Those who connect with the images in this way can then begin to unravel the digital manipulations and hypothesize their own reasons for the artist’s new image.

This questioning unifies the artist’s process with the artist’s intent without any insertion of the artist between the work and the viewer. No exterior conceptual baggage is necessary to enjoy such work on many different levels of experience. Perhaps it is our times that have made video art so accessible, or more likely it is Pfeiffer’s deft image choices.