A box of crayons. It’s the first of many art supplies we have as children. For many, the simplicity of those wax sticks is the draw. They’re portable, less messy than markers, and you can explore the world with colors like Wild Blue Yonder or Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown or Magical Mint or Laser Lemon.
For Christian Faur, director of collaborative technologies for the Fine Arts, the simplicity is a ruse.
This is evident in the complexity of his exhibit currently on display at the Kim Foster Gallery in New York City. Rods and Cones, Faur’s second solo exhibit at the gallery, features more than 145,000 individually hand-cast crayons, arranged to serve as pixels in the exploration of digital photography and imagery.
Many of his works focus on portraiture, an image that Faur has said piques his curiosity. His piece, A Series of Melodies, is made up of twelve representations of a single woman’s face—and 33,000 crayons. Each of the 12 explores pixels, colors, and tones in a way that excites the viewer’s own rods and cones.
Faur says he sees the exhibit, which kicked off last month, as an homage to the pixel—a dying form. “The idea is slowing going away,” says Faur, referencing Apple announcement last week of its Retina Display appearing on its new MacBook Pro line. The retina display features so many pixels so close together that they disappear into each other, as if they do not exist at all. The idea of the disappearing pixel is nothing new. “We’ve been anticipating a retina display for a long time, and the show has been in the works for a long time. They did influence one another.”
Young artists just beginning today, with their first box of pristine sharpened crayons, will have a different way of viewing digital imagery, without pixels, Faur says. “This show is a celebration of that object.”
Rods and Cones is on display at the Kim Foster Gallery, on West 20th Street, until June 30. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by.