DES MOINES – In a new exhibition that opens Friday, artist Whitney Courtney Nastanovich explores the perceived permanence and inevitable deterioration of old-fashioned tangible objects in the digital age.
For the exhibition, Nastanovich collected prints, paintings and papers and stitches to reflect both the creation and destruction of hand-recorded data. She arranged the objects in repeated shapes and patterns and used sandpaper, thread, notes and visual images to "update them." She calls the results her "research tools" in an ongoing process of reconstruction that delays and documents the materials' decline.
"In the past, tools like graphs, maps and charts recorded the deterioration of objects," she said. "From these tools, data was collected to provide order and organization. The work was done in vain as these analytical materials withered and were eventually useless. Still, these tools were bold attempts designed to both patch and fix imminent destruction."
Taking her approach one step further, she said the exhibition comes at a time when old-fashioned methods of charting and graphing have been replaced by ultramodern images often presented on video screens.
"The ability to erase everything from the screen in one swipe is easy," she said. "In these pieces, I want to prove that there is loss in this efficient reboot. The process, and all of its value, has been sacrificed for clarity and efficiency."
Nastanovich was born in Louisiana and graduated from Murray State University in 2003 with a bachelor of fine arts in printmaking. After graduating, she moved to Nashville where she became an independent artist participating in numerous group shows.
In 2007, she moved to Des Moines and has had numerous exhibits at galleries, shops, bars and music venues in her adopted hometown. In 2017, her work was featured at Iowa State University's Memorial Union. Her drawings also have been used by the rock band Pavement on its merchandising apparel.
If you go:
"Art at the Cafe: Attach & Cross Out"
Feb. 1-April 30
Monday-Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Cafe Baratta's in the State Historical Building of Iowa
600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.