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Graduate Produces Work on a CD-ROM

September 1, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The art world is going high tech. The first thing a visitor sees at an exhibit of art students’ productions opening today at the Corcoran Gallery of Art is a computer monitor with a mouse and two sets of earphones.

To appreciate that work, the visitor must sit at the monitor, don the earphones and click on an icon with the mouse.

This piece is a CD-ROM called ``1948: Memory Fragments _ A Narrative in Three Voices.″ The artist is David A. Valentine, who received his degree in 1997 from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, one of the nation’s leading art schools.

``His major was fine arts,″ said Linda DeF. Williams, the school’s director of alumni affairs, ``but as you can see, he knows about technology too.″

Valentine is a former animation cinematographer who ran his own computer animation consulting firm.

His piece is part of an exhibit of alumni work held every two years at the gallery, the capital’s first art museum.

The school cultivates an older tradition, too. An oil painting _ Fred Folsom’s ``Edna Flying,″ a nude gliding over a landscape _ is back in a corner of the gallery.

But most of the show does little to recall the days when art students spent more of their time on watercolors or making drawings of antique statues.

Many of the students seem to be trying to outdo one another in cultivating exotic ways of expressing themselves. Some however, reject the high-tech trend.

Nancy Van Meter makes cyanotypes, created by laying an object directly on a sensitized photographic plate. Some early photographers practiced a similar technique more than 150 years ago.

``The technical process for creating these photograms is simple, permanent and non-toxic,″ the artist explained in a statement. ``Machinery of any kind is unnecessary. My personal response rebels wildly against the barrage of computer technology with its unapologetic deluge of poor quality images.″

She calls one of her small prints, which uses doll clothing, ``Barbie High Heels: Float Like Boats on Top of the Sea.″

Carol Gellner Levin used hydrocal, which looks like white plaster, to mold the life-size figures of eight frolicking babies, called ``Fertility.″

``‘Fertility’ looks at the issue of reproductive technology and multiple births,″ she said in a statement. ``We Americans are technically sophisticated beyond our human capacity to care for and protect those children we are now able to produce en masse.″

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