Arden Bendler Browning conquers virtual reality, Luve More LC + Thinkers Makers Society, and opportunity

Three notable events rounded up for your consideration! A short Q&A and video by Roberta talking with Arden Bendler Browning about her show and virtual reality piece at Bridgette Mayer Gallery; plus a great-sounding event at Thinkers Makers Society collaborating with Luve More LC to present Jeff Rivers' art; and Scribe Video's Young Mediamakers Fund is open for applications to college students and student-age filmmakers -- applications due Oct. 31.


Arden Bendler Browning talks virtual reality and painting

I stopped in at Bridgette Mayer Gallery last week to check out the paintings by Arden Bendler Browning. [the show is up til this Saturday, Oct. 22.] I’m a fan of her abstracted landscape works with their shakingly joyful, celebratory ambiance and rich color palette, so to my surprise, Arden was in the gallery. We had a chat about her virtual reality piece created in conjunction with her paintings and that let you “step inside” the paintings in “real” virtual space. Happily for me and others who decline the VR headset, the painter has made a video of the VR environment – an astounding piece of video in itself – which captures the Alice in Wonderland wow of her paintings by breaking them apart and re-assembling them mark by mark. Even without the headset, the video gave a pretty good sense of walking in and amongst the marks and colors. I asked Arden about working in VR and working in paint, and here is some of what she said:

ARTBLOG: Tell me about how you make the virtual reality

ARDEN BENDLER BROWNING: Ok, so I use photographs of the paintings, which I then import into the virtual space and I use the image as a background from which to draw into the space using 3D virtual painting marks. Arden points out a painting that appears in the background of the VR, and on top of that are the virtual marks that she’s drawn in the virtual space. You can walk through them (with the headset on). So, the painting is always started looking generally at photos or video of an actual space, but it then gets compressed or flattened to become a painting (2D). The virtual reality is allowing me to turn the paintings back into an experiential space again. And when you have the headset on you can walk through all the marks and then you are part of the painting.

In this particular piece I’ve included some animation. There are five different scenes that use five different paintings in the show. Each one starts out as a flattened image of itself that grows upward from the floor. It’s almost like a pop-up book where it just grows around you. And it will gradually float back down again and you can trigger another scene, based on another painting.

ARTBLOG: The colors [in the video] are digital colors, right, rather than real world colors. How do you like working in the digital space – just for the color alone? You’re a very big colorist.

ARDEN: When I started working with the VR I realized it’s hard for me because I’m a painter, i’m not a programmer, I’m really not a digital artist. I tried to figure out ways that I could combine the two to allow different things to happen in this space, like the movement and the scale that I could never do unless I was painting an entire room and having different materials. I actually will color match according to all the different nuances in the painting. And that’s really what’s allowed me then to have this seamless way of having the different marks, like they’re growing out of the painting.

I feel like if I were just staring with a digital palette and not looking at the images of the paintings I don’t feel that my color choices would be nearly as complex, because with paint I’m just seeing what happens, and the colors develop from the transparencies of the different colors on top of each other. You can’t really do that with digital marks. There isn’t that transparency. You can’t have a color gradually blend into another. You can do amazing things like with volume, shadows that can show you how the form is existing in 3 dimensional space. But, yeah, they’re different ways to work. And I like that difference, too! It’s interesting to let them play off of each other.

In a poster for an event called Running under the Moonlight, a purple silhouette is embraced by a periwinkle silhouette underneath a realistic full moon.

Luve More LC + Thinkers Makers Society collaboration

RUNNING under THE MOONLIGHT, work by Jeff Rivers
Thinker Makers Society, 320 Race Street
Opening – November 4, 2022, 7pm
Closing party – November 19, 7pm

From Austin Rivers of Luve More LC (a local production company).

Thinkers Makers Society is a black-owned gallery and event space in Old City. The gallery has been established since 2021. Luve More LC has partnered with Thinker Makers Society to produce a 2 week exhibition in support of the rising career of local visual artist, Jeff Rivers. “RUNNING under THE MOONLIGHT,” is the debut solo exhibition of Philadelphia-based visual artist, Jeff Rivers. This exhibition is a visual narrative of the life journey from birth to ‘addiction’. Using the black male as the narrative subject, Jeff takes the viewer through the rise and fall of the human condition in a series of large scale paintings and accompanying photographs and prints. You see the subject through birth, adolescent struggles and their search for warmth and community. The figures in this exhibition are sourced from the artist’s first hand witnessing of Philadelphia’s vagrant and addict population. The works in this exhibition are placed in conversation with the acclaimed film Moonlight. This juxtaposition between the story of an alienated, black youth’s journey towards self-realization mirrors the narrative displayed by the paintings. “RUNNING under THE MOONLIGHT” places the viewer in an empathetic space to perceive and understand the desires and failures that drive our quest for community acceptance.



Scribe Video Philadelphia Student Mediamaker Fund – Deadline Oct. 31
From the announcement:

I’m excited to share with you that Scribe’s Philadelphia Student Mediamaker Fund is now accepting applications from collegiate age mediamakers. The deadline is October 31, 2022. Information and Application here.

The Philadelphia Student Mediamaker Fund provides grants up to $500 to undergraduate students and up to $1,500 to graduate students who are creating a digital video, audio or film project. We are now also accepting applications from student aged filmmakers affiliated with a training program.

The Philadelphia Student Mediamaker Fund is administered by Scribe Video Center. Evaluation of proposals and selection of grant recipients is made collectively by members of media arts organizations and local colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area who are involved in media making, educating and supporting local artists, as well as by individual members of the independent film and digital media community.

Support for the Philadelphia Mediamaker Fund is provided by the Independence Public Media Foundation.