Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins: Do Androids See Electric Paintings?

May 6 - June 11, 2016

Cristin Tierney Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins entitled Do Androids See Electric Paintings? This is their second solo exhibition with the gallery, opening on Friday, May 6th, with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The artists will be present at the reception.


On view in the exhibition are new paintings from the series Frags and Pixel Paintings. Each painting is comprised of a grid of squares and rectangles of subtly different hues. Alternately riotous and bright or atmospheric and moody, the paintings' precise compositions are built from complex color formulas that the artists have devised over time and meticulously recorded in their studio. Such intense perceptual exercises call to mind artists like Josef Albers, Johannes Itten, and Ad Reinhardt. With this new body of work, Marman and Borins explore 21st century color theory, building on the foundations of Albers, Itten, and Reinhardt, but also taking into consideration the influence of digital media.


Advanced digital technology is a key theme of the show. The exhibition title is a reference to Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which formed the basis of the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner. Like the android replicants in the book and film, Marman's and Borins' paintings are physical objects that draw heavily from the virtual world. They are created with the aid of digital tools, and their gridded compositions resemble compressed images, pixelated computer screens, and gaming landscapes. The names of the series - Frags and Pixel Paintings - not only allude to the way files are stored on a hard drive, but also to the way data and images become corrupted, detached, and decontextualized.


Combining formal abstraction with references to pop culture and digital media, the works in Do Androids See Electric Paintings? further Marman's and Borins' engagement with the legacy of modern art. The works are presented under both artists' names and their smooth surfaces do not reveal any brushstrokes or signs of the artist's hand, evading any identifiable authorship. Ultimately, there is no single narrative to the work, but rather many possible subtexts and interpretations, including a new way of seeing abstraction as an expression of data, and the search for the exalted in the detached virtual space.


Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins have been making large-format sculpture, mixed media, installation, and electronic art as a collaborative duo since 2000. Intervening upon institutional and public spaces, their work often contextualizes visual art squarely within everyday life while simultaneously referring to and reassessing twentieth century art history: its utopias, polemics, and formal one-upmanship. Works by Marman and Borins can be found in several institutional collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and the University of Toronto. They are well recognized for their public installations, including the Architizer A+ Award-nominated SFC BridgeWater Guardians, and Speech Bubble with architect James Khamsi. Their major museum exhibition The Collaborationists has traveled to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Windsor, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Recently, the artists completed a seminar series at SOMA in Mexico City and a visiting lectureship at AWKND at Tulane University. They live and work in Toronto.