Bayard explores apocalypse in video exhibit

Bruce Bayard will present his video collage, “Triptychs,” in “Apocalypse,” a media art exhibition curated by Richard Herskowitz and Scott Malbaurn, at the Schneider Museum of Art during the Ashland Independent Film Festival. I met with Bayard at his Studio on A Street in Ashland.

EH: How does your film relate to the theme of apocalypse?

BB: There is the underlying theme of apocalypse in all of my work. There are concerns with climate change, and what kind of damage we are going to be facing over the next few decades. There are elements in the work that are bringing up what we’re doing to the planet and the environment. I call it fouling the nest. I think that climate change that’s going on could potentially be apocalyptic, if we don’t start throwing some serious effort at mitigating what’s going to be happening.

The film that I’m showing is non-narrative, stream of consciousness, and as you look at it, you’ll have to put together your own sense of what’s going on in the film. I’m not creating the film with an exact narrative in mind, and I’m also letting things evolve randomly. The images that I’ve chosen have to do with our environment, our situation, our relationship with that environment, and the climate change that is coming at us.

EH: How does your non-narrative art relate to politics?

BB: In this piece that I’m presenting, I don’t necessarily have any answer to anything. I like to put images together and see how they resonate with me. Scott Malbaurn talked a little bit about colonialism in his concept for the exhibit. There’s the ocean, and there are old sailing ships. The ships might relate to slavery and taking over the new land, when the Europeans came to this continent. There are historical resonances going on. Hopefully they resonate with other people, and get the thought process rolling that way. I’m putting in information, image-wise, that is open to a lot of interpretation by the people who see it.

EH: How did you begin your artistic journey?

BB: I started the standard way, pencil, ink, watercolor, as a kid. I started doing oil painting when I was 9. As a teenager, I got interested in the reproduction of art. I moved into printing technology. From that, I became interested in fine art printmaking, lithography and etching. I became a printmaker for other artists. I then became a mixed-media artist, doing all of those things together: painting, collage, printmaking and so forth.

About the year 2000, I started doing my work electronically, and I started collaging images together. From there, I started creating time-based work. My current work evolved from single images into image sequences, into video, and then into what I have at the Schneider Museum projected on a wall: a web page that builds compositions semi randomly. I have control of the content, but I have taken myself out of the control of which images go together, at what time, with other images. It builds the compositions for me, with code.

This is a process that I have developed over the last 10 years. I’ve gathered thousands of images. I’ve created videos, image sequences from stills, videos and animations. I’ve been compiling them. I’ve been modifying the code and the images, to get to where it is at now. It’s an evolving artwork that I can modify over time.

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