516 Arts
Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 12–July 14, 2018

21st Century Cyphers is a group exhibition about the phenomenon of language in the technological age. It brings together visual artists who use both written and spoken language structures in their work through translation, abbreviated means of communication such as symbols and glyphs, and visually coded ways of conveying information. Using a variety of processes that include painting, sculpture, digital and new media, installation and sound, the works on view in this exhibition highlight language itself as a diverse medium to be explored, dissected and reframed to reflect the nuances of communication in the 21st century.

Curator Claude Smith, 516 ARTS’ Exhibitions and Fulcrum Fund Manager, says, “Contemporary language is a complex melting pot of syntax, emotion and expression. It has become increasingly common to express our feelings visually, due in part to the frequency in which our daily correspondences are mediated by a screen. We now conveniently have immediate access to entire dictionaries or repositories of alternative language signifiers. Textual abbreviations, symbols, glyphs, memes, gifs and even video/sound clips are ready for deployment as clever substitutions.”

The artists in 21st Century Cyphers explore these notions, using language and words as the basis for literal compositional structure as well as creating new systems for communication that reflect a growing hybridization with technology and a desire to locate oneself within that expanding universe of possibility.

Featured artists: John Phillip Abbott (NM), Gina Adams (KN), Mirtha Dermisache (Argentina) Bart Exposito (NM), Asuka Goto (NY), Sky Hopinka (WI), Nina Katchadourian (NY), Karla Knight (CT), Matt Magee (AZ), Guillermo Gomez-Peña & Enrique Chagoya (CA), Hayal Pozanti (NY), Walter Robinson (NM) and Joel Swanson (CO).