"Waldo Crossing the Alps" by Sven Anderson
An exhibition of digital landscape photography and computer-manipulated digital prints of old master paintings—in which the artist has substituted the original faces with his own—opened Monday in the college’s Martin Mullen Art Gallery. “Sinking Into Obscurity,” featuring the work of Associate Professor of Art Sven Anderson, will be on view through Dec. 12. Anderson will give a gallery talk about his work at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, in the gallery lobby.
The exhibition is a study of colorful, vivid landscapes from many of America’s national park s caught in singular light. Anderson, who grew up spending family vacations camping and hiking at national parks west of the Mississippi, says he feels a responsibility to show people why America’s natural treasures are worth preserving. “If they don’t see it, how can they know?” he says. “Most of my students have never been west of the Mississippi. The only national parks they have seen are Acadia and Shenandoah. They are nice parks, but nothing on the scale and grandeur of the western parks. If we don’t act to save them now, they will sink into obscurity.”
The landscape photos are juxtaposed with humor by the accompanying computer-generated images of the artist visage in a series of old master manipulated paintings such as “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” by Jacques Louis David. Anderson has not only exchanged his face for Napoleon’s but swapped out the horse for his golden retriever, Waldo, in the new piece, titled, “Waldo Crossing the Alps.”
Anderson earned an MFA in Printmaking from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He studied printmaking with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris.
Anderson has exhibited in, and has work in many museums and collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the Kansas City Museum of Art; the Newport Harbor Art Museum; the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum; the Bibliotheque Nationale and the Harriet Hale Wooley Gallery in Paris; Stanley William Hayter/Atelier 17; Arthur Young; Stanley Marsh III; the Orange County Museum of Art; the Jesse Besser Museum; and the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
In recent years, Anderson has made a transition from hand-pulled printmaking to the digital arts. The earliest phase of the transition included using a computer CAD program to design artwork that was then engraved onto magnesium plates for further engraving by hand and etching. He also experimented with printing onto plaster, and one of his computer-assisted plaster prints was selected by the Los Angeles Printmaking Society for the frontispiece in the prestigious “Survey of Contemporary American Prints.”
In addition to teaching all levels of computer art SUNY Oneonta, Anderson serves as an assistant for several of the Ansel Adams Gallery Photography Workshops in Yosemite. He lives in Oneonta with wife, Karen, and their daughter, Annika. Sven and Karen are the owners and operators of Volcano Editions in Oneonta, a professional archival print service for digital images and reproductions of original works of art.