JIM SERBENT, ARTIST: DIGITAL ABSTRACTS, PHOTO-BASED WORKS, VIDEO ART
OVERVIEW
These artworks fall into three categories: abstractions, photographic-based works and video art; sometimes these divisions meld or blur. The dominant medium used for the first two is the archival pigment print. Regardless of category, all are by design open to interpretation, each work given the freedom to speak for itself.

“Individuality of expression is the beginning and end of all art.”

— Goethe

Following rules and conventions, emulating other artist’s styles or being associated with schools, groups, trends, or movements have been eschewed in pursuit of originality. It is this liberating independence from what is expected, hot, current, or saleable that affords Jim Serbent true, total freedom of artistic expression.

On a tabula rasa the artist lays down intuitive mind’s eye imagery and experimental treatments of photographic works. Video art works vary from the purely abstract, e.g., Retinal Circus and The Video Life Form Series, to highly structured compositions with original soundtracks such as Out of Dream and Bent Cross.
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FIVE SELECTIONS FROM THE ABSTRACTIONS GALLERY

ABSTRACTIONS

“Modern art must of necessity remain in the state of experimental research if it is to have any significance at all.

— Marsden Hartley

Experimentation and imagination provide the springboard for these compositions. Using intuition and enthusiasm for the mind’s-eye image — brief and fleeting — the basic idea processes through a fusion of video, electronic transmogrification, photography, and extensive hands-on digital brushwork. The result is a final print that works visually and registers emotionally. Many works were self-revealing in that they evolved into something quite different than originally conceived — the work itself guiding Serbent toward a surprising conclusion.

“ 'What does that represent?' has no meaning.”

— Fernand Leger

In an effort to leave interpretation wide open, all works in this category are deliberately untitled.

The chief medium for the current series of abstractions is the archival pigment print. Sizes vary with the largest being 44 x 60 inches. Many are of a numbered, limited edition series; others are one-of-a-kind.
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DETAIL FROM "KOAN-2"
PHOTOGRAPHIC-BASED WORKS
These works are about impressions, relationships and remembrances. The in-progress Koan Series is composed of arrangements of original photographs, artwork and the odd appropriated image. Some are formatted into an irregular grid structure. These compositions can contain as few as two and as many as a dozen or more component images. Serbent has always been intrigued by Zen’s mystique and its promise of transcendence and certain Zen ideas seem to resonate with his existential view of the universe. The koan, as he understands it, is like an insoluble puzzle. The idea is to throw one completely off balance mentally, for an instant, and in that moment induce a flash of enlightenment and transcendence. Serbent's approach is to use the principle of the koan as an influence by combining diverse images in balanced, intuitive, visually compelling compositions.

“We are not here to do what has already been done.”

— Robert Henri

SELECTION FROM THE PORTRAIT GALLERY: "Portrait of Frankie Q"

In the Portraiture Gallery are displayed some examples of video and digitally enhanced portraits produced from the 1980s up to the present. People often wear masks that change instantaneously depending upon what and whom they face at any given moment. The Faces and Masks series attempts to scratch the surface of these myriad personae that dominate human interaction.
SELECTION FROM THE WTC GALLERY: "WTC-23"
The World Trade Center - A Photographic Study is included solely as a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. If that devastating day had not occurred, these now haunting images would most likely remain as unprinted 35 mm slides stored in the artist's archive. In the 1980s Serbent was captivated by the twin towers of the New York World Trade Center. These architectural behemoths appeared massively imposing yet elegant — and impossibly tall. He was drawn to photograph them repeatedly day and night at different times of the year. Using various lenses and transparency films including infrared, he attempted to capture the surreal essence of these giants.
 
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STILL FRAMES FROM THE VIDEOS: "Bent Cross," "Retinal Circus," and "Out of Dream"

VIDEO ARTWORKS
These are motion picture compositions that range from pure abstractions, The Video Lifeform Series, to ambient video works, Retinal Circus, to art & music videos, Out of Dream, Message from Space, Aging Rockers, and Theme from 'Le Sacrifice.' Some video works, originally produced in the 1980s, are undergoing restoration, reediting, and revision. In the following decade Serbent created Bent Cross, a pure stream-of-consciousness video based on the overwhelming power of religion on the human race. Out of Dream has recently been fully restored, re-edited and extensively enhanced as Out of Dream V 2.0. New video art works are in production.

“The nature of really serious art is that you don't know what you're looking at. You're impressed by some quality or bothered by some quality. You don't know it's why it's the way it is or how it came to be that way.”

— Robert Storr
MOMA, NY
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