How are we to describe selected paintings and artists concerned with the evening, along with small communities or sociocultural groups coming together in the twilight founded on apparently esoteric hunting beliefs? In the first sense, we might think of paintings such as Joy Garnett’s Crepuscular Dawn, Shade, or Beacon, or of our appreciation for an apparition of an unidentified terrain, such as Arbor. Here, the terminology of vespertine connotes an enthusiasm for, and insider knowledge of, certain paintings or painters of the stars and their motions, such as Shields, on the River Tyne by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1823) or Starry Night over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh (1888). The paradox is that such paintings and painters can have a simultaneously wide and specialist appreciation, although sunset tends usually to designate that powerful and seemingly fragrant portion of the day....
John Armitage is professor of media arts at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. He specializes in the work of Paul Virilio, the French critic of the art of technology. He is the editor of Paul Virilio: From Modernism to Hypermodernism and Beyond (2000), Virilio Live: Selected Interviews (2001), Virilio Now: Current Perspectives in Virilio Studies (2011), and The Virilio Dictionary (2013); author of Virilio and the Media (2012); and coeditor, with Ryan Bishop, of Virilio and Visual Culture (2013).
Joy Garnett is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Brooklyn. The paintings in her Crepuscular Dawn series are based on images she finds on commercial hunting websites that depict unknown landscapes recorded with night vision technology. Her work has been shown at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Craft (Portland, OR), Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK), Kettle’s Yard (Cambridge, UK), De Bond Cultuurcentrum Brugge (Belgium), and MoMA PS1 and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). Her writings have appeared in Harper’s, Art21 Magazine, artnet, Journal of Visual Culture, and Ibraaz. Information about her work can be found at joygarnett.net.
John Armitage, Joy Garnett; Vespertine. Cultural Politics 1 March 2015; 11 (1): 126–133. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-2842469
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