Extinction Events

EXTINCTION EVENTS C.1985 & 2010_ graphite on paper, 15 x 22" each, 2013

These drawings reflect on twenty-five years of evolution in video-game graphics.  They borrow their subjects from The Oregon Trail and Red Dead Redemption, games set in the American West during historical periods in which characters find promise in the idea of the frontier.  The initial drawing, Extinction Event c.1985, was prompted by nostalgic memories of playing The Oregon Trail in kindergarten and my later realization of the similarity in representational conventions between early grid-based video games (which I loved) and the cross-stitched samplers my mother made and populated our house with during my childhood (which I loved less).  I was interested in making a pixel-based drawing without a fixed grid and exploring a process where my hand mimicked a system of digital output without its strict precision; to draw like a malfunctioning dot-matrix printer.  The idea for the companion drawing, Extinction Event c.2010, came to me during a play-through of Red Dead Redemption as I reflected on parallels between the systems of representation and player experience in both games.  The, then-next-gen console graphics, intended to completely immerse the player into a convincing naturalistic environment, felt like a fancier veneer laid over the same basic structure, but remained equally distant from the actual.  In this drawing I was interested in rendering, as accurately as possible, assets from the game with particular attention to the seams of their construction, those moments where the detailed skin and the polygonal skeleton disconnect.


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