An artist is a spy. She looks around her, noting “top secret” details. Then she conveys this forbidden knowledge to her spy network (i.e. the walls of her gallery). Anne Surprenant is one such spy, revealing the secrets of unmanned aerial vehicles in “Out Of the Blue,” a show at the gallery at R&F Handmade Paints in Kingston.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—commonly called “drones”—are either piloted by remote control or operate autonomously. The United States military uses them frequently in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Surprenant’s first picture, Drone 1, is a theatrical “dragonfly drone,” with a doughnut hole above which hovers a circle of reedlike protrusions, like the undulating tentacles of a sea anemone. ( I’ve never seen a drone, I realized.) Surprenant renders these mechanisms with painstaking pencil drawings, covered with a thin layer of shiny beeswax.