VAUGHN WHITNEY GARLAND
EMORY, VIRGINIA & VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY / RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
I am a multi-media artist/teacher working with digital media, computer code, online participatory culture, video installation, sound art, painting, and drawing.
Using found material from the Internet and mass media, as well as audio and video recorded in the field, I create multi-media and digital installation projects that explore notions of public and private space. In addition, my work seeks to encourage new modes of online participation through community collaboration and practice.
Collecting and uncovering fragmented and hidden information is essential to all my work. Through the physical act of taking apart and putting back together, I rearrange visual, audio, digital and conceptual information in order to comprehend it in a more real way. Working in ways that focus on discrete pieces of data—which I refer to as episodes in my paintings and drawings—allows me to piece things together to uncover and illuminate new meanings. My efforts serve to isolate individual episodes, create new relationship between these individuals, and ultimately show the beauty that exists within diverse, shared communities.
In my paintings, the acts of brushing, wiping, abstracting, and isolating parts of space correspond to the ability to question identity and experience. Sets of marks—episodes—which are lodged in the surrounding ground, may stand alone in a layer, or may thrive off of neighboring episodes. The layers are used to isolate relationships, clarify questions, and denote a history.
The paintings may capture a symbiosis of time, resembling abstracted landscapes, topographical maps, moss ecologies, or sky charts. Or, they also may suggest a type of biological study, chaotic climate changes, and the realization of our present-day fear concerning catastrophe.
The digital works of art follow in much the same was as my painting practice, wherein the episode becomes the focus for evaluation and exhibition. This is most evident in my sound art where I combine numerous layers of field-recorded and digitally manipulated and synthesized sounds into complex compositions. Even with these works of art, the layers are added, removed, abstracted, pushed and pulled, all in an effort to reveal isolated moments within a seeming cacophony. It is my hope that the episode—the individual moment of hearing parts within a whole—pushes the audience to deeper moment of listening.
Dr. Vaughn Whitney Garland is a Richmond-based independent curator and sound artist. He received a Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University’s interdisciplinary Media, Art and Text (MATX) program and an M.F.A from VCU’s Painting and Printmaking program.
Garland has held positions in many of Richmond non-profit arts and cultural organizations and has curated, co-founded, and co-organized several public art and sculpture exhibitions including: The Richmond Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition in 2005 and 2006; 1708 Gallery’s inaugural Inlight; and the 2013 and 2016 RVA Street Art Festivals. Garland has served as Chair of the Richmond Public Art Commission, Chair of 1708’s Exhibition Committee and Richmond’s Urban Design Commission.
During the 2013 RVA Street Art Festival, Garland curated Driving Richmond, a multi-media documentary exhibition that garnered regional and national attention. He is now working a series of sound installations, web archives and audio tours in and around Richmond. Current projects include: collecting field recordings from Virginia’s historic Route 5; documenting stories from Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood; developing a commissioned audio tour for the James River Park System; documenting Richmond's Latino community and constructing an audio tour of Richmond’s Slave Trail.