Baltimore artist Dina Kelberman is like a human search engine combing the Internet for pictures and video clips of visually related materials that she sorts into grids and projects as films. Featuring colorful cartoons and punchy graphics, her works are engaging to watch, tricking viewers into a game of “find the meaning” among random images.
Kelberman doesn’t try to make narratives out of her found material, but her uncanny way of linking images makes them stand out from the average Instagram account. Her ongoing work I’m Google, started in 2011, is an endless grid of offbeat items and weird moments. But her magnum opus, Smoke and Fire (2013–present), consisting of visions of flames and smoke bombs assembled from clips of children’s cartoons, seems slightly too derivative of the work of such Internet artists as Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, who, more than a decade ago, built archives from “Looney Tunes.”
The fact that Kelberman is herself a published cartoonist excuses her appropriative use of this material, since it may have particularly personal meaning for her. Her obsessive collecting and organizing of images will certainly resonate with people who store photos on their cellphones. However, if Kelberman were to explore the psychology of such photo-fetishism in greater depth, her work would be stronger still.
A version of this story originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 85.