By Jesse Bertel

This fall the Yavapai College (YC) Prescott Art Gallery will feature new work by the Visual Arts Department faculty. The exhibition opened Oct. 6 and will run through Nov. 17 at the Yavapai College Prescott Art Gallery, located on the YC Campus, 1100 E. Sheldon St., with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, during the 4th Friday Art Walk.

The 2023 YC Art Faculty Exhibition will present paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, digital art and much more by accomplished local artist-educators. Featured artists include Brandelyn Andres, Laura Bloomenstein, Eric Boos, Jill Brugler, Dana Cohn, Jamie Conroy, Jessica Crocker, Carl Dahl, Jonah Fleeger, Dean Humphrey, Sarah Lange, Steve Mason, Ben McKee, Ben Norton, Ken Ottinger, Bryan Robertson, Chelsea Stone, Rita Toikka, and Michael Werner.

The exhibition will include an Artist Talk by YC Metal Sculpture instructor Ben McKee on the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on contemporary art. McKee will deliver his lecture in the YC Art Gallery 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25. The event is free and open to the public.

In McKee’s work, he fuses AI-generated imagery with meticulous post-production techniques, effectively blending his own human creativity with the transformative capabilities that AI offers.

“I’ve been pretty much trying to stay on the cutting edge of that for the last year or so,” McKee said. “At first, it was sort of just playing around but now it’s much more. I mean, it is sort of folding into my artwork a whole lot more.”

McKee sees parallels in his work with AI to historical technological advancements such as Photoshop, and even 3D printing — innovations that were met with skepticism in their early days but ultimately expanded the horizons of artistic expression.

“When I was younger, even sort of high school and undergraduate, I was experimenting a lot with Photoshop, kind of photo manipulation and scanning my 2D work and kind of reworking it in Photoshop,” he said. “The assets that were used were photographs that I took and other work that I did. Now I’m able to kind of generate that stuff.”

In addition to teaching part-time at Yavapai College, McKee owns a machine and fabrication shop.

“It’s about a 2,500 square foot, you know, industrial space that I have some big CNC machines in,” McKee said. “I do the teaching for fun because it’s really enjoyable and I like working with students, but my shop is sort of a physical production shop. So, my artwork, a lot of times it’s based off of industrial surplus I have from client jobs that the general things I have around from my work.”

The Yavapai College Prescott Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and during select performances at the Jim and Linda Lee Performing Arts Center.

For more information contact Gallery Manager Tim Hull at, 928-776-2031, or 520-444-2006.

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