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Gallery Show Highlights Impact of Technology on Art Industry


The clean, white walls of the State of the Art Gallery were decorated with a distinct variety of artwork from nine local artists participating in the “For the Love of Art” show. The gallery, located in downtown Ithaca, held the public event Feb. 5- March 1.

“For the Love of Art” featured works form members of the gallery. To become a member, artists must submit a digital application as well as participate in an interview and portfolio presentation to the gallery’s memberships committee.

Those who attended the “For the Love of Art” show observed and interacted with a range of different mediums, including digital art, fiber art, mixed media, multimedia, painting, photography and sculpture.

As evident by the show’s art work, artists today are increasingly using digital technology in their pieces and creative processes.

This trend has changed the landscape of how artists are able to convey their messages and meanings through different mediums, said Connie Zehr, a member of the gallery.

Her flame-worked glass piece, sand sculpture and six-panel metal print were all on display at the gallery.

Zehr, who was an art professor at Claremont Graduate University in California before moving to central New York to be closer to family, said the incorporation of digital media and technology into traditional art, like drawing and painting, has given artists worldwide new ideas and pathways to use in their pieces.

Connie Zehr’s flame-worked glass and sand sculpture titled POINT OF VIEW (Photo by Noa Covell/Ithaca Week)

“For me, it allows me to continue doing art by giving me an option of another medium. Art isn’t like being a ballerina or football player, I can continue enjoying it now and for a long time because of all the possibilities.”

The internet and social media have made art a more participatory experience, according to a majority of arts organizations surveyed by Pew Research. The study also found that technology in art has helped to attract more diverse audience and broaden the boundaries of what is considered art.

For gallery member Vanessa McCaffery, whose artwork includes ink drawings, digital technology has aided her work on large ink pieces. She views photos of her subjects on an iPad as a visual reference while she draws.

Vanessa McCaffery’s ink drawing, titled “My Name Is Ed,” is of a turkey vulture at Cornell’s Raptor Program (Photo by Noa Covell/Ithaca Week)

McCaffery said that while technology has been helpful while she draws, she still holds a romantic connection to what she can create with her hands and the authentic “the mark of the hand.”

“When I click or move a mouse or even use an Apple pen on my iPad, it doesn’t feel the same. There’s something about drawing on a screen that doesn’t resonate the same way.”

Jane Dennis is an artist and member of the State of the Art Gallery who displayed her eight, mixed media, metalwork sculptures and photography in the gallery.


Dennis said she enjoys creating her pieces by working more with her hands. She uses thread and needles, wires, nail elements and recycled materials. Despite not personally using modern technology in her art, she said she believes that digital elements are here to stay – and for the better.

Jane Dennis’s mixed media sculptures (Photo by Noa Covell/Ithaca Week)

“I think that using digital elements and technology is a personal thing and preference to each artist. But, it is great to have another medium of language for some people to learn and use in their art. Technology allows for a collage of both mediums and is great for showing the progression of art over time.”

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