I paint cyber nudes to understand our black-boxed living experience of flesh. This series investigates our embodied engagement with technology while demonstrating our capacity for mimesis, confluence, intersectionality, and mutation. I aim to render technological artifacts as conscious and persuasive. Each painting asks the audience to imagine what the tech is proxy for; does the device represent community, task, tool, prosthetic, or property? The series supports the mystification of technological artifacts, while simultaneously encourages intimate investigation. #CharkasForEngineers envisions a desirable and democratic future where society and technology are closely entwined to liberate all people.
Technology is mimesis, the capability of imitating the human condition with such exactitude that it has become synonymous with the skin, the flesh, the vital organs of human bodies. Artificial life becomes the performance of real life. Distinguishing between skin and machine, thus becomes difficult. Jaimie Smith-Windsor, The Cyborg Mother (2004)
Digital Dreams and a Pinch of Dust is a collection of 14 digital paintings created May to Feb 2021 during stay-at-home orders in Toronto. The collection illustrates transitions from isolated individuation to celebrating shared food and kisses at an agape meal and then arriving at the graveyard. The agape meal originated in the early Christian church to strengthen the bonds of affection and fellowship. Many of the figures are animated with psychic glowing or radiating marks, proceeding confidently from my previous painting series. The subjects sit in imaginative situ, perhaps at a table, a sauna, on a carpet. The backgrounds are abundantly decorated with leaf stamps and textures. The skin is traced with airbrushing, perfect for modeling volume and defining features using water-washes, charcoals, and brightness brushes. The Procreate app simulates multi-media painting and illustration techniques. All the work demonstrates an insatiable curiouslity at the app's ability to translate mixed media. I am especially motivated to imitate media I can't access due to my limited home-based studio, like painting on silk or pulling marble paper. The gestures seen in the mark-making are defined as stroke properties, rendering, and dynamics. Most of the early works simply render the default settings, but occasionally I use purchased brush sets (notable is the brush set brow and lashes). The differences in digital painting versus a material studio practice are numerable. The digital painting attempts to coalesce material rules unbounded by material effects. Physics are transcended, here, oil and water mix and wet and dry are the same. Bonus, there are no fumes and I am not pouring plastic down the drain. Plus, no cloth will spontaneously combust. But, no mark catches the light. My good material understanding of painting makes the simulation app a natural extension of my years-long practice. Importantly, I love the zero clean-up application making creating outstandingly portable. The collection activates curiosities about the function and ontology of digital paintings. Where I am usually very strict about what processes or representations are considered painting, I'm open to expanding its definitions. Is this collection a series of paintings? Or are these drawings? Are they prints or maybe illustrations? I just don't know what box to check when applying to art fairs with this work. With the collection unbounded by material effects it is typically encountered on screens like social media or digital publications.
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