Prosthetic Gods -
exhibition by Leana Hirschfeld-Kroen and John O'Neill
The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts presents “Prosthetic Gods,” an exhibition of prints, photography and assemblage by Leana Hirschfeld-Kroen and John O’Neill, seniors in the program, on March 12 through 19 in the Lucas Gallery at 185 Nassau Street. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 14 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the gallery. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.
O’Neill is a computer science major with an interest in how his studies in the technology world intersect with art. “My artwork is intended to be in dialogue with our mixed feelings towards technology and ideals of progress, and how both of these bring about a host of troubling and beautiful things” he explains.
His exploration of this idea is represented in two bodies of work in the exhibition. One is a series of seven digital photographic portraits of fellow students entitled, “Feedback Loop.” He projected a colorful, abstract image on each subject’s face and photographed the results, noting that the unique topographical canvas of each face recreates the projected image in a different way. The other series includes several large assemblages of photographs, sketches and objects, all of which are tied by formal and conceptual connections that have continually evolved as O’Neill prepared for the exhibition.
O’Neill plans a career in computer science after graduation, but notes that the skills he has developed as an artist will benefit him in the technology field. “The understanding that attention to detail, that even the smallest decisions have impact,” he notes, “are important lessons I will take into my work in computer science. It’s an understatement to say that my work as an artist here at Princeton has shaped how I think about things.”
Hirschfeld-Kroen’s work also falls into two forms, linoleum and woodblock prints, both of which explore the figure and portraiture, particularly from unusual angles and in interesting shapes. A comparative literature major, her work is also influenced by the subject matter she reads including the politics of nostalgia, early visual media, and the way they transform how we see and conceptualize the world. One of her current preoccupations is the tradition of “repressive portraiture” in photography, from mug shots to passport pictures. She describes the process of carving the linoleum and wood blocks as almost meditative and finds herself drawn to technologically reproductive media, particularly at the intersection of printmaking, photography and film.