Artist Statement

My practice explores the aesthetics and architecture of smartphone screen environments. I am interested in the formal language of the architecture of these spaces, the framework around the image data the viewer consumes, and the tension between these precise, formal structures and the fluid, impermanent nature of gesture-based commands within these screen spaces. My interest is in the hierarchy of the smartphone screen and the relationship between the gestural, interactive nature of processes which happen on the screen and the rigidity of the visual frameworks these gestural commands are applied to. A key inspiration was a video interview with Jennifer Chan and her discussion of how her work is influenced by the constant readjustments in framing we have become used to in the online world. My paintings compile and overlay the structures through which images are presented, to create compositions influenced by early modernist painters such as Malevich and Ilya Chashnick. I aim to document the way in which the once radical flatness of suprematist works, with abstract objects floating in the plane of a canvas, have become fundamental to the framework of the online world and part of everyday experience. I am interested in raising questions about how we experience the digital space and understand the internal logic of our screens as a virtual space within which semi-permanent objects exist and interact. I see the framing and layouts of popular social media networks and search engines as akin to city planning and architecture, Kafkian structures which we journey through every day without examining or questioning their design and layout, and the effect it has on the way we experience image data.

I aim to draw parallels between the stark layouts of internet browsers and applications and the white cube of the gallery, documenting the role of online spaces and social media as the primary point of dispersion for many contemporary artists, as explored by Artie Vierkant’s ‘Image Objects’, as well as the way in which art historical works are viewed for reference. The digital paintings project flashes of colour, describing processes taking place on the screen and highlight how contained areas of colour are used to brand the white screen space. This draws parallels to the role of the artist being to brand the white cube, inspired by the work and writing of Kevin Bewersdorf and his assessment of modern art practice being reduced to the artists signature imposed on the gallery.

My method of composition takes inspiration from artists such as Cory Arcangel, whose work photoshop demonstrations is a recording of a standardised processes which take place in the desktop environment. Similarly, the composition of my pieces maps the position and size of icons relative to each other, are predetermined by the layout and structure of mobile screen spaces, however I am selective about the way in which these structures are layered and composed. Whereas Arcangel’s photoshop demonstrations describe a predetermined process being carried out in a digital workspace, my paintings describe the processes constantly happening concurrently in the smartphone screen space. Each digital painting is composed of various logos and icons which use colour to brand the largely blank, white screen space. I copy and overlay application layouts, removing the areas where images would appear to reveal further application layouts in the background, creating a series of flat surfaces which creates a sense of false depth reminiscent of painters such as Marcus Jeffries. The composition of each is determined by applications which relate to each other in terms of their tangential relationship to the completion of an action or process through the smartphone screen, such as mapping a journey or composing an email. Daniel Buren’s ‘Catch as catch can: work in situ’ influenced the formal aspects of my final piece, the use of light to transform mirrors into ‘canvases’ reflecting the light to be interpreted as a composition.

 

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