“Force Fields” Review on KQED Arts

We are excited to share a very positive review of Sonya Rapoport’s exhibition Force Fields at Julie Casemore Gallery, San Francisco, open through May 13th, 2023.

Installation view of ‘Force Fields’ with the ‘Shoe-Field: Shoe Psyche Charge’ series, 1986. (Courtesy of Casemore Gallery; Photo by Chris Grunder)

The article Sonya Rapoport Wrote Artistic Code and the Computers Spit Out Something Wonderful, by KQED’s arts writer Sarah Hotchkiss, situates the exhibition’s computer art, works on paper, and video documentation in the context of Rapoport’s lengthy practice, as well as the social and technological context in which it was first presented in the late 1970s and early 1980s:

The general public of the time had little to no relationship with personal computers. But Rapoport’s work made the emerging technology accessible, even fun — and that sense of playful possibilities is what makes this show such a pleasure to visit…

We selected the work in this exhibition to represent the evolution of Rapoport’s engagement with the computer, from her earliest drawings on computer printout paper through her computer-mediated “audience participation performances.” The work is engaging on a visual level, but each represents an entire period from this critical era of Rapoport’s practice, and many are artifacts of intricately structured installations. We are grateful to those who take the time to unpack the deeper meaning of the work!

Hotchkiss adroitly sums up the way Rapoport experimented with computers by noting that “technology is a tool. Artists will always find ways to undermine, critique and radically adapt those tools to their own advantage.”

Sonya Rapoport, ‘Shoe-Field: Our Fate is on Our Feet,’ 1989.

We hope folks will find time to visit the exhibition and unpack the work for themselves before it closes on May 13th. But for those who are unable, Casemore Gallery has made available on their website extensive materials including installation shots of the exhibition and a viewing room complete with images of the work and primary source texts that speak about the work in the artist’s voice.