Ivan Toth Depeña Merges Art, Architecture and Tech

Photos courtesy of Emma Schlichting

Augmented reality provides a live view of a real-world environment in a manner reminiscent of virtual reality but which features elements supplemented by computer-generated media. One artist known for augmented reality is Ivan Toth Depeña, who installs his projects publically throughout South Florida and is currently displaying his work as a visiting artist in Cummings Arts Center until Mar. 3. Funded by the prestigious Knight Arts Challenge Miami Grant in 2014, Depeña created a virtual reality tour of Miami using the project site’s mobile app “Lapse.” Once downloaded, one simply points the device at certain walls or public spaces to see and hear amazing technological experiences on the screen. It’s app-activated art.

“I enjoy coupling machine and human to create layered and often unpredictable results. My work encompasses painting, drawing, light, video, photography, architecture, sculpture, interactivity and installation. Sometimes singularly and other times all at once,” remarks Depeña in his artist statement. He goes on to add: “I am interested in pursuing (both as a process and a means of learning) a true intersection between different disciplines.”

The Florida and North Carolina-based artist has also used his Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University to design other artistic feats for the public, like “Color Field” in Lakewood, Colorado. “Color Field” is a tree-like sculpture located next to a train station that uses kaleidoscope-like laminated and tempered colored-glass panels to shed light on the banal surroundings. Depeña also designed a building-sized light installation called “Inside/Out” in the University of New Mexico’s Pit Athletic Facility. He even collaborated with fashion designer Reed Krakoff to create an interactive boutique window display that lights up when pedestrians walk by.






















































While Depeña is known for his public installations, the exhibit in Cummings titled “Ivan Toth Depeña: Interconnections” showcases his independent studio activities, which combine traditional and non-traditional methods in his 2D work. Certain pieces combine pixel-like wooden squares with thin scraps of photos and needle-thin architectural designs, while others resemble bleeding varnished watercolors speckled with drilled-in shapes. It is a masterful, arresting grasp on the language of art.

“Regarding process and inspiration, I am absorbed in combining the ideas of chance and intention as both a mechanism and inspiration in my studio output. Surprise can come from the accident… But the unforeseen can also come from careful planning and rule structure…I implement both methods mentioned above to establish a neutral ground where I then begin the sequence of overlaying,” reads Depeña’s statement. This merging of fields results in an outcome that challenges and inspires the mind.

Depeña will talk with students and offer a public lecture in Cummings 308 on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 4:15-5 pm. The event will be followed by a reception. •