The Expanded Gallery

Shannon Novak

31 March 2017 - 14 July 2019

In The Expanded Gallery, Shannon Novak explores the potential to extend his work beyond the physical boundaries of the gallery. Expanding from the gallery walls into a range of physical and digital realms, this is a project that explores the potential of an art work to create different layers and experiences across multiple sites.

Novak is a visual artist and a musician, and his work reflects his own experiences of synaesthesia – a perceptual disposition in which one sensory response triggers another (for example a visual experience triggering an associated colour or sound).  This new installation explores his interest in the 'expanded' experience; creating a series of layers that come together as the viewer engages with the different elements of the project in the gallery and beyond.

The Expanded Gallery begins as a physical wall-based composition; a series of abstract forms composed as Novak's response to the gallery space.  The dynamic relationship between these shapes and colours are amplified by the introduction of light, with the composition seeping across the windows and reflecting back onto its original forms. Next, the installation places a layer of digital information over specific elements of Novak's work.  Using a personal smartphone or tablet, viewers are invited to participate in an augmented reality experience –animated art works elegantly unfolding in digital space.

Beyond the walls of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, this composition takes on a viral quality; it's elements multiplying and extending across different networks that relate to the gallery in some way. Abstract compositions appear over public walls on Moray Place and the Dunedin City Council Civic Centre, each enhanced with virtual elements that may be revealed using a mobile device. More traditional painted works find their way into other sites; schools, businesses and other organisations that form part of the 'expanded' Dunedin Public Art Gallery network. Over the course of the installation, new elements will emerge in physical and digital forms, each operating as a trace of the original wall work, connecting it back to the source.  With each encounter or discovery, Novak makes visible the possibilities of an art work to expand across time, space and experience.

> Download Essay by Gregory Minissale

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