Detail from a video portrait of Erin & James McGirk show a woman and man in minimal detail, 'posterized' with analog image processing technology by media artist Benton C Bainbridge
Benton C Bainbridge: Gilroy Video Portraits (Erin & James McGirk), 2022 [detail]

gilroy video portraits

at 6th Street Studios & Art Center

Benton C Bainbridge: Gilroy Video Portraits
January 15 - April 15, 2022 (closed Valentine's Day weekend)
64 West 6th Street, Gilroy, CA 95020
Sundays, 11 AM - 3 PM and by appointment

The Gilroy Video Portraits continue Benton C Bainbridge's ongoing exploration of an old artistic tradition in a young medium. Traditional studio portraits present a moment fixed in paint or photochemical; electronic moving images offer a slice of time. What can a moving portrait reveal about its subject? Using video, can we engage the sitter as co-creator with the artist? Can filters function as masks or costuming, obscuring and revealing the subject much as makeup or fashion shapes a presence?

Bainbridge began making video portraits in 2012, as the word "selfie" entered our vocabulary. Inspired by Warhol's film portraits as seen in Chelsea Girls, Benton used video projections to light his sitters, expanding the live lighting tricks that Andy Warhol employed. In lieu of gels and gobos manipulated by hand, Bainbridge used VJ tools to paint his subjects with light. In 2013, the VHS Portraits at Eyebeam were shot on unique VHS tapes t flat screens. Fivdozen portraits were completed during the residency.

A commission from Deutsche Bank yielded Bainbridge's self-portraiture installation for Frieze Art Fair. Picturing You premiered in 2014 as a two-person interactive artwork in which two guests would portray each other using custom software and iPads. Picturing You was then reworked as a single channel artwork and exhibited at Everson Museum, Bandung International Digital Arts Festival, NACC in Bangkok and many other showings.

For his 6th Street Studios residency, Bainbridge expands the video portraiture series with new tools assembled during pandemic lockdown: a collection of analog image processing modules for flexible manipulation of video—without a computer. These modules allow for patch-programmable video synthesis. Members of the 6th Street community and visitors are invited to come sit for portraiture sessions, and to learn about the tools Benton uses to make video portraits.