Nobody Circles the Wagons, 2016
Matthew Peter Nagowski // Nobody Circles the Wagons
Opening Wednesday June 1, 6-9pm
On view June 1 - July 2
Exhibition Hours: Thursday – Saturday 11am-4pm or by appointment.
Gallery will be open until 9pm First Friday June 3 and July 1.
Closing Reception Friday July 1, 5-9pm with 7pm Artist Talk.
Eleven Twenty Projects is pleased to present Matthew Peter Nagowski: Nobody Circles the Wagons, a series of digital archival prints addressing the region’s changing socioeconomic landscape. Using the Processing computer language, Nagowski abstracts data derived from local socioeconomic trends, blends them with local experiences, and contextualizes their numerical-driven meaning in aesthetic form. Nagowski’s work explores the boundaries of analytical and emotional reaction to data and art.
Buffalo has faced a myriad of challenges over the last half-century, yet civic consciousness has remained remarkably high in spite of the region’s social and economic realities. The decline and abandonment of large sections of urban areas stands in the face of the region’s collective community spirit of resilience. This exhibit is an examination of the long-term trends that have affected Buffalo and Western New York. Today, the Buffalo-Niagara region is a study of contrasts and change – a region marred by the decline of the 20th century industrial economy and the emphasis on investments in suburban infrastructure. Buffalo is the 3rd poorest large city in the country, featuring dramatic levels of economic inequality. Despite recent stabilization and economic growth, more people leave the area to other areas of the country than move to it every year.
Nagowski’s recent work features data as the central to its composition. The data spans time and geography, and tells stories reflecting population distributions, income inequalities, migration trends, and employment metrics. Color and space form these abstracted infographics, shaping the viewers’ understanding of the material. The historical narrative of place reflects a contrast of experience revealing a myriad of trends, with every datapoint reflecting a unique story, each deserving of thoughtful reflection and understanding.
Randomness is a central element to these works. While social and technological advances allow mankind to exert increasing levels of control over life’s outcomes, much is still left to the fortunes of chance. For this reason, many elements of the data being portrayed— the tilt of a line, the glow of an orb, the hue of a shadow—are left to the randomness of electrons within a computer. Therefore, each print in this series is unique—Nagowski’s reminder of how little in life can actually be controlled.
A Panel Discussion that was free and open to the public was held on Wednesday June 8th at 7pm. The panel was moderated by Sam Magavern, Co-Director of the Partnership for the Public Good, and co-sponsored by The Public. The panel addressed the changing socioeconomic trends of Western New York.
- Bruce Fisher, Director, Buffalo State College’s Center for Economic and Policy Studies
- Franchelle Hart, Executive Director, OpenBuffalo
- Dr. Ron Stewart, Professor of Sociology, Buffalo State College
- Dr. Henry Louis Taylor Jr., Professor, Center for Urban Studies at UB School of Architecture and Planning
- Joyelle Tedeschi, Director, Matt Urban Hope Center
This exhibition has been organized to support the initiatives of the Matt Urban Hope Center and the Partnership for the Public Good.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Matthew Peter Nagowski is a Buffalo, N.Y. based artist and data scientist. Employing his background in statistics, programming, and data visualization his art mediates the boundaries between empirical understanding and aesthetic-emotional reactions. His work has been shown at Artspace Buffalo, the Western New York Book Arts Center, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and has been featured in issues of The Public. An alumnus of Cornell University, he serves on the board of directors for the Partnership for the Public Good and teaches as an adjunct lecturer in Buffalo State College’s Applied and Computational Mathematics program.