Digital Memories in Hard Copy

 "Digital Emotion," 2017

"Digital Emotion," 2017

 
 

It's 2017, and here we are, humans on planet Earth.  We're also humans plugged in, humans connected to one another on a scale heretofore unimaginable.  We sleep with our phones in our beds and wonder about emails that might not have come off as we had intended.  US presidents tweet.  Communication has obviously changed, and quickly.  How we understand ourselves in our world has changed.  How we think about our world itself has changed.  We wield new power, yet we necessarily lose some things as well.  Our attention is continuously competed for.  Our moods are subject to manipulation by smartphone apps.  And it seems that human to human interaction diminishes with each advancement.  Digital experiences affect physical experiences, sometimes tangibly and sometimes in mysterious and nearly invisible ways.

Some knowledge, once imbibed, forever affects all other knowledge which comes after it.  Does the allure of social media forever cause human interaction in the physical realm to lose some of its luster, some of its poignancy?  Or does it shine a light on its preciousness?  Are our words and images immortalized in the digital sphere or is all web-based content but a string of fleeting fads, memes, and micro-information which are doomed to slip away into infinite obscurity?  These questions make up one major facet of my recent paintings.  I'm looking at humanity in the digital era while painting with a physical brush.  We live in two worlds.  I am looking, noticing, and not ever quite able to pass judgement.  In some ways I feel that the changes which we have relatively recently, collectively experienced are akin to a loss of innocence.  On the other hand, those same experiences and shifts in behavior and thinking may amount to a right of passage.  I look with wonder, amazement, confusion, disgust, trepidation, and always amusement and our moment in time.

These recent works of 2017 also deal with a few ongoing themes that have found their way into my work over the years: extremes, dualities, dichotomies, harmonies, contradictions, and impossibilities.  The human experience is dynamic, varied, surprising, and incomprehensible.  How strange.  How magnificent.