If you weren’t looking at your phone, you could easily walk straight through Nancy Baker Cahill’s artwork “Margin of Error” and not even realize it. That’s the opposite of how things usually work, but Baker Cahill’s art installation exists in augmented reality (AR), viewable through your smart device. This work and more will be presented at the Georgia Museum of Art this fall in the exhibition “Nancy Baker Cahill: Through Lines,” on display through May 19, 2024.
This mid-career survey exhibition, organized by Kathryn Hill, associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Georgia Museum of Art, is Baker Cahill’s first solo museum show. Expanding upon her background in traditional media, the artist redefines the possibilities of drawing in contemporary art. She begins with finely rendered graphite drawings that evolve into torn paper sculptures, then scans and animates them into 3D digital immersive videos. The drawings, altered by software, later reappear as single cinematic frames in the form of fine art prints.
“Through Lines” moves across spatial dimensions and media, following Baker Cahill as she investigates materiality and immateriality through her progression from drawing into digital works of art in AR. Featuring drawings, sculptural installations, and single- and multi-channel videos, the exhibition traces Baker Cahill’s mark-making from traditional modes of artistic production into technologized ones. Baker Cahill’s prints “Slipstream 17” and “Slipstream 18,” stills from her video works of the same name, also trigger AR animations, bringing static images to life that jump off the prints’ surface. Though varied in media, “Through Lines” explores how the drawn line remains integral to Baker Cahill’s process while challenging the limits of two-dimensional drawing through new media.
“Margin of Error,” an AR work on view in the museum’s Jane and Harry Willson Sculpture Garden, requires viewers to download the 4th Wall app, Baker Cahill’s free AR art platform. Using the app, viewers trigger the AR experience by scanning the sign in the garden and the monumental AR work will appear. Viewers are encouraged to interact with and document themselves with the work, writing themselves into the narrative.
“Margin of Error” imagines an inevitable and toxic outcome created by humans’ impact on the environment. The title references the statistical probability of an event to occur, in this instance the occurrence of environmental disaster. By placing this work in the museum’s sculpture garden, the exhibition underscores the consequence of the impending biological, chemical and geological disasters that will take place in our own backyards. Through their visceral and temporal qualities, Baker Cahill’s AR works help viewers visualize what philosopher Timothy Morton calls “hyperobjects”: entities of such monumental scale and complexity that they often defy conventional modes of human understanding. The artist deploys these emergent technologies to examine ideas of power, consciousness, the human body and the impact of humans on the biosphere.
Baxter Cahill is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist whose hybrid practice focuses on systemic power, consciousness and the human body. She creates research-based immersive experiences, video installations and conceptual blockchain projects rooted in the history of drawing. Her monumental AR artworks extend and subvert the lineage of land art, often highlighting ecological imagination, civics and a desire for more equitable futures. She is the founder and artistic director of 4th Wall, a free, AR public art platform exploring site interventions, resistance and inclusive creative expression.
Her globally exhibited geolocated AR installations have earned her profiles in the New York Times, Frieze Magazine and the Art Newspaper, among other publications, and she was included in ARTnews’ list of 2021 ‘Deciders.’ She will premiere her immersive film “SEEK” in 2024, marking the inaugural art experience at Cosm in Los Angeles. Baker Cahill is an artist scholar alumnus of the Berggruen Institute and a TEDx speaker. In 2021, she was awarded the Williams College Bicentennial Medal of Honor and received the C.O.L.A. Master Artist Fellowship. She is a 2022 LACMA Art and Tech Grant recipient.
Her work is held in the collections of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster; RFC Art Collection, Miami; and 0x Collection, Prague.
“Nancy Baker Cahill: Through Lines” is sponsored by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, John and Sara Shlesinger, the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation Fund and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. It will travel to Villanova University Art Gallery in the fall of 2024. Baker Cahill’s AR and digital video artwork “CENTO” is currently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the museum’s first participatory, co-built digital art project.
Related events include a Family Day on Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon.