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“The Singularity is Here” – Paintings by Leah Montalto

“The Singularity is Here” – Paintings by Leah Montalto

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Leah Montalto


Left-click on the thumbnails below to see a higher-resolution, downloadable image of each painting.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to feature art by painter Leah Montalto, inspired by the concept of the Singularity. These paintings were originally exhibited at the Reis Experimental Gallery in Long Island City, NY, during March 23-25, 2016. See the page for the original exhibit, “The Singularity is Here“.

The paintings are a celebratory valuing of life. They are symbolic of the wonder inherent in the art of creation and building, alluding to the potential for the advancement of civilization.  The paintings celebrate the impulse toward reason, innovation, creation, and liberty.”  – Leah Montalto         

Description from “The Singularity is Here” Exhibit: 

In her large-scale paintings, Leah Montalto explores the visible and the invisible, the physical and the metaphysical, envisioning an expansion in both material and inner dimensions. With a masterful deployment of color, and a dynamic sense of motion, her paintings defy convention by simultaneously revealing two paradoxical perspectives.

From one perspective, Montalto’s paintings are classical landscapes, inspired by the tradition of the Hudson River Landscape School.   Montalto creates futurist landscapes, taking the viewer on a three-dimensional journey through outer space, and through imagined nanotech creation scenes in scales both massive and miniature.  Structures break apart, coalesce, and reform as she evokes the spirit of creation, transformation, and reconstruction.

From a second perspective, Montalto’s paintings are two-dimensional abstract paintings, evoking the physiological effect of gazing at a Tibetan mandala, offering an entry to an internal space of reflection, contemplation, and illumination.

With these paradoxical yet simultaneous perspectives – alternating between three-dimensional space and internal vision, Montalto’s paintings evoke an exhilarating sense of the potential of new worlds and new ways of thinking.  Montalto’s paintings present an optimistic view of the future, of transformational possibilities, and of a merging of the material environment and the psyche, and of nature and technology.

Leah Montalto was born in Boston, MA in 1979.  She lives and works in New York City and Queens, NY.  Montalto holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art.   She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Academy Museum of Fine Art’s Hallgarten Prize for Excellence in Painting, and a New York City Cultural Commission Individual Artist Grant.   Exhibitions of her work include shows at the National Academy Museum of Fine Art in New York City, Priska Juschka Fine Art Gallery in New York City, Reis Experimental Gallery in Queens, University of Michigan Gallery in Ann Arbor, and the Korea Biennial.  Montalto has taught painting at Sarah Lawrence College, State University of New York at Purchase, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, University of Connecticut, and Rhode Island School of Design.

 

City of New Antideath – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova, Commissioned by Gennady Stolyarov II

City of New Antideath – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova, Commissioned by Gennady Stolyarov II

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Art by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Painting Commissioned by Gennady Stolyarov II


City of New AntideathCity of New Antideath – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Commentary by Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party, Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator

For my coming thirtieth birthday, I have commissioned a colossal cityscape depicting my vision and hope for the future progress of humankind. Artist Ekaterinya Vladinakova, a long-time supporter of transhumanism and life extension, was the evident best choice for this project.

The City of New Antideath represents a future society which has overcome death, disease, and today’s principal sources of material scarcity and discomfort. This city contains more than ample living space in ornate, radiantly illuminated skyscrapers. Smaller villas, domed towers, and other luxuriously ornamented buildings adorn the central walkways. There is ample room for pedestrian traffic and plant growth sculpted into geometrically complex patterns – including on the rooftop terraces of many of the mega-skyscrapers.

Flying cars and autonomous drones appear as streaks of light from the ground level. There is so much room for aerial transportation that no more traffic jams exist on the ground. One can opt for efficient transport, or for open-ended leisurely walking, and the two modes will not collide.

Over the years I have created a large number of building models using Sketchup, Minecraft, and even LEGO bricks. In my quest for permanence, they – or images of them – have been preserved and provided to the artist for inspiration. The first City of Antideath consisted of my Sketchup models. The City of New Antideath was not intended to be an exact replica, but rather a successor inspired by the prospect of juxtaposing the best architectural elements of all eras – past and yet to come.

I conveyed to Ekaterinya Vladinakova that the skyscrapers should exhibit a variety of bold colors and geometric shapes – but also be orderly and ornate. I have a great admiration for historical architecture from the 16th through 19th centuries – so while some of the buildings are geometric and futuristic, others borrow significant elements from Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, or Victorian styles. Russian and Eastern architectural traditions find their manifestations in this cityscape as well. The idea is to portray a future of extreme diversity, where all of these elements will exist side by side and interact with one another in interesting ways. Far from cultural separatism or tribalism, the future needs to borrow and develop upon the best elements from all cultures, times, and places. The culture of New Antideath is rational, scientific, progress-oriented, universalist, cosmopolitan, and at the same time hyperpluralist and welcoming of all peaceful individuals.

The most significant vision I have for this artwork is that it will become the iconic vision of a techno-positive future. Accordingly, I am rendering it available for free download and distribution via a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License so that it might be used by others who seek illustrations of a future we can all aspire for.

I still hope that I was not born too soon – that I may someday personally witness and experience a future of this sort. But for now, although the third decade of my life did not see such a future emerge, I am happy at least to have enabled its depiction so that others can be inspired to strive toward it. Given that our immediate world has become suffused by a pervasive, destructive malaise over the past two years, we will need visions such as this to overcome it and achieve better ways to be.

There are three versions of this digital painting available for free download (left-click on the links to open, right-click to download):

Small (1200 by 1931 pixels)

Medium (2400 by 3861 pixels)

Original Size (11250 by 18100 pixels – a vast canvas with immense detail. Note: This file size is immense as well – but you will be able to zoom in to view individual buildings and regard them as smaller-scale paintings in their own right.)

For those seeking musical accompaniment in viewing this painting, I recommend my Transhumanist March, Op. 78 (2014) (MP3 and YouTube)  or Man’s Struggle Against Death, Op. 58 (2008) (MP3 and YouTube).

Find out more about Mr. Stolyarov here.

Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter. See her gallery here and her DeviantArt page here.