Analog art meets animation in McDonough

By Elizabeth Coss

The Beecher Art and Technology Lecture Series returned April 12 for the first in-person lecture since 2020, featuring Scott Turri, guest artist and University of Pittsburgh faculty member. 

Held in the McDonough Museum of Art, Turri showcased his art via slideshow to help convey the variety of art he has composed to students, faculty and visitors. 

Using a variety of mediums, Turri uses real-life inspiration to create his paintings. From utilizing shapes found on laundry hampers to accenting nature, inspiration is endless, according to Turri.

“Most of the material comes from things like photographs that I’ve taken. I have an archive of a lot of photographs and drawings,” Turri said. “I work digitally, and almost — like in some ways — like a collage artist, I make digital images that become models for my paintings.” 

Alongside acrylic paintings, Turri also crafts animations — which are often analogous to his photography and paintings — by pairing them with instrumental music to help create nonlinear narratives.

“[The] animations are often connected to the imagery as well and often, in some cases, connected to the painting. So, there gives this exchange of ideas and imagery from the paintings to the animations and vice versa,” Turri said. 

He explained that, despite being a more expressive and figurative painter in his early career, he became more analytical and connected to digital imagery as a source for his art. 

“I’m really interested in abstraction and painting,” Turri said. “In terms of the look, [an artist’s] hand is usually not seen in the work. It becomes less about me as an artist, and hopefully more about what the world looks like as a kind of manifestation of the images,” Turri said. 

Dana Sperry, a Youngstown State University art professor and the area coordinator for digital media and photography, organized the lecture series and helped bring Turri to the university. 

“He has some work that is paintings, but he has some animation as well, so his work goes back and forth between digital and analog,” Sperry said. “That’s part of the reason we were interested in having him come to The Beecher Art and Technology Lecture Series.”

Sperry described Turri’s work as highlighting digital and visual art while contributing to both visual and cultural languages.

“His work is a digital aesthetic. It’s clearly informed by the way in which digital things look, which to me is very interesting,” Sperry said. “At some point, that visual language became a sort of broader cultural visual. It sort of creeped into a larger visual cultural language, and then I started noticing that a lot of painters were painting in a way that looked like digital stuff.”

This was the final lecture series offered for this semester, but The Beecher Art and Technology Lecture Series will return in the fall semester.