Melissa Stallings

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Widely regarded as a pioneer of new media art, Bill Viola creates works that combine filmed images and music in what he calls “total environments that envelop the viewer in image and sound.” With roots in both Eastern and Western art and spiritual traditions, Viola’s visual and sound installations impart a transcendental experience of their own, alternating between electronic scores and silence, and pursuing timeless themes like birth, death, and extremes of emotion. For example, in the soundless Quintet of the Astonished (part of the “Quintet” series, 2000), five figures in the throes of a powerful feeling are filmed in ultra slow motion, resulting in tableaux reminiscent of Renaissance painting. A similar technique is at work in “The Passions” (2000-), an ongoing series that draws in part from the conventions of sacred Christian frescoes to create filmed scenes of great suffering and redemption. 
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