Heather Szatmary counts things. Systematically, she records life experiences, calories, steps taken, jokes, conversations, or the end of a relationship, which she extrapolates and evaluates. She interprets these data sets through three-dimensional modeling, using the Maya software program. Each of the artist’s series depicts data in multiple ways — allowing the numbers to build the imagery, but not control the form or color. Szatmary builds the three-dimensional digital structures and freezes them as drawings, which are further expanded as paintings or murals, animations, and jewelry. In her recent exhibition how much is not enough at Rule of Three Gallery, the works evolve as a record of calculated flesh-and-blood friendship and romance through the digital interface.
On view in the gallery’s first room are wearable pieces and a set of images that seem to be stills from the animation playing on the screen facing the front door. This room hosts what Szatmary refers to as the Sex Series in all its glory. These dynamic works present a central form created from one of the artist’s data sets in bright magenta, simultaneously organic in its swells and linear in its sharply systematized interior. This data visualization is suspended over a background of subtle shadows and creases. The central form is designed with data from Szatmary’s own sex life from the last twelve years, indicating the rawness of sexual intimacy. These analytical interpretations of data from the artist’s intimate moments have been translated into bracelets and pendants, a witty use of her sex-life as bodily adornment for others.
Through the doorway one can make out a large bright pink form stretching along the gallery wall. The second room contains a mural with long, finger-like tendrils unraveling and stretching across twenty feet. Szatmary’s piece Text Series: BASKIN 2020-2022 examines the artist’s last relationship, a long-term friendship turned long-distance relationship during the pandemic. The stark contrast between the blazing magenta linework, painstakingly hand-drawn over a projection of the model, and the crisp white walls make the lines vibrate, as if the form is crawling across the surface.
In the same room are six intricate drawings executed with bright punches of color, traipsing across smooth raw-wood panels. The juxtaposition of the bright, hard-edged forms and the natural wood surface creates a gentle visual tension, further activating the drawn elements. These pieces are reflections of conversations, some between Szatmary and past romantic partners, some between the artist and her friends. One is a colorful amalgamation of pink, blue, and violet, puffing across the surface, titled Text Series: REBECCA, HEATHER, PAUL, BEN, GREG, AND NATE. Each color acting as interchangeable voices bubbling up in a group chat among her friends. Here the color is light and weightless, like the joy of a shared inside joke.
Szatmary’s practice of data collection and interpretation serves as an encapsulation and refelction on memory and conversation. In all modern relationships, the gauze of technology can veil even our most intimate moments. Szatmary attempts to cope with the Digital Age by allowing technology in as a third silent partner, employing its mechanisms of processing, organization, and modeling to reflect on former relationships and experiences.