STIMULI: an art show on our relationship with technology

UW-Eau Claire graduate presents technology inspired art show at Volume One

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Photo by Brian Sheridan

Betsy Olaussen’s photo series “You Don’t Even Notice it Anymore” on display at Volume One.

A new stimulating art gallery has come to Volume One, presenting a UW-Eau Claire graduate original.

Betsy Olaussen, a 2014 art graduate from Eau Claire, specializes in conceptual photography. Her show “STIMULI,”  comments on how we react to social media, screens and technology.

The show includes two black and white, high contrast photo series, as well as a wood panel installation.

“Every piece in the show is based off of light from technology or just the general stimuli of advertisements, texts from people, phone calls, just everything we look at in a day and how overwhelming it can get,” Olaussen said.

Volume One reached out to Olaussen initially, asking her if she could create a show for the Volume One art gallery.

The exhibit is built specifically for the art gallery space, which has never been done before, Volume One graphic designer Serena Wagner said.

“It’s different from the stuff we’ve had in here before,” Wagner said. “It’s not fine art, it’s more contemporary, more conceptual than anything.”

The series is an extension of her Bachelor of Fine Arts Senior Exhibition from the spring of 2014. The BFA show focused more directly on the overuse of technology, while the show at Volume One has a more personal connection between people and their devices.

One photo series in Volume One shows people sleeping next to their phones, saying how technology is with us both consciously and unconsciously, Olaussen said.

There is also two wood panel installations that include screws and copper wire meant to show the direction of eye movement across screens. The artist created this after analyzing a video of her friend’s eye movement at her computer.

“I wanted to take those eye movements with those blank stares,” Olaussen said. “And I thought having that wood installation piece to describe that eye movement was the best way to do that.”

Olaussen said the inspiration for the show began with her first photo series titled “You Don’t Even Notice it Anymore” after studying the eye movement and different traits involved in the photograph.

Wagner said she likes the show and how it makes a person stop and think about society’s relationship with technology and reaction to social media, making one “self-introspective”.

Olaussen said the show turned out a lot better than she hoped.

“It felt so right when the pieces ended up on the wall, and having the wood pieces against the brick wall turned out a lot better than I thought,” she said.

The Volume One art gallery doesn’t get much in the way of photography art, much less conceptual photography art, Wagner said. They try to book a variety of shows and felt Olaussen brought a good mix to the space and the line up.

Olaussen said she currently doesn’t have any plans for new shows, but she will continue to explore the idea of eye movement and may put on shows soon in Minneapolis art galleries.

For those who are looking to catch a glance at the current show, STIMULI will continue to run in the Volume One art gallery until Oct. 31.