The question of exhibiting art online has lingered since the early years of internet art. Last month Mike Golby and Jillian Kay Ross entered the conversation with their inaugural exhibition FREE 4 ALL at Barmecidal Projects. Barmecidal Projects is an entirely digital 3D gallery that is a virtual replica of Mathew Marks gallery in New York. FREE 4 ALL, which ran from April 16th- May 16th with an accompanying opening at Butcher Gallery in Toronto, features work by Alex Mcleod, Amalia Ulman, Arielle Gavin, Brad Tinmouth, Brian Khek, Danielle Bessada, David Hanes, Emily Jones, Georgia Dickie, Iain Ball, Jennifer Chan, Jillian Kay Ross, Jon Rafman, Justin Bochek, Jónó Mí Ló, Jarrod Wilson, Kaitlin Till- Landry, Lauren Brick, Lauren Elder, Lee Ormerod, Liam Wylie, Lili Huston- Herterich, Mike Goldby, Orlando Orellano, Rachael Milton, Shelbi Chew, and Tara Downs.
The gallery’s name Barmecidal, "providing only the illusion of abundance; illusory or imaginary and therefore disappointing," is manifest in the articulation of the virtual exhibition space. By mapping the traditional white cube onto a virtual model, Barmecidal Projects explores the modes of exhibition in both real and artificial space. Golby and Ross aspire to:
…bring together artists working in digital and immaterial forms. Digitally created works existing in the space are rendered in high-gloss, hyperrealistic fashion. Having these objects exist in the gallery space further blurs the boundaries between the Real and representation; the works will be so shiny and irresistible by virtue of their digital nature that they will supersede reality.
Due the technical limitations of the simulated model, visitors are unable to browse through the gallery freely and are lead through a video tour that moves quickly through the space. The experience ...