'Blocks' exhibit offers abstraction of Web data, Internet experiences

Artist Brian Piana’s abstract transformations of visual elements, data, and user experiences from the Internet are featured in “Blocks,” a March 23 – May 25, 2017 exhibit in the Wright Gallery, located on the second floor of the Texas A&M Langford Architecture Center’s Building A.

An reception featuring the artist took place Thursday, March 23.

Piana, a professor of art and design at San Jacinto College, draws inspiration from how end users experience online content.

One of his pieces, “RGB and Sometimes Y,” is a set of murals depicting vertical, colored stripes, the output of an algorithm he developed to search Twitter’s public timeline for references to the words “red,” “green,” “blue” and “yellow.”

Piana works in a variety of media, including digital prints, paintings on canvas, wood sculptures, adhesive vinyl installations and active websites.

“Several pieces in ‘Blocks’ are responses to Donald Trump’s election and administration,” said Piana. “Other pieces take on an apolitical tone, riffing on art themes or online experiences.”

The exhibit’s title is a reference, Piana said, to physical and virtual building materials and “an homage to my time spent in the Bachelor of Environmental Design program at Texas A&M, where my focus was on designing would-be physical spaces.”

Piana earned a BED degree in 1997 and a Master of Science in Visualization Sciences degree in 2000.

Since graduating, he sees the term “blocks” more as it relates to the Internet than to physical spaces.

“Modules are everywhere online, from the building blocks of pixels to individual tweets or Facebook posts of a social media user,” he said. “These virtual blocks are the foundation of my art.” 


Richard Nira

posted March 20, 2017