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In this series of works I am interested in the ways themes including identity, technology, and privacy intersect in the online phenomenon of explicit photos women take of themselves and publish anonymously online. I collect these images from publicly accessible forums dedicated to these images and, using several computer programs, damage and alter the images to create a distorted glitch aesthetic. These glitched images become the starting point for my paintings, created with acrylics, oils, and glitter. Glitching assists my goal to move the conversation about these images beyond sex by distorting, obscuring, and fragmenting the forms in the original image. I also utilize this strategy as a reflection on the fragmentation of identity online.
Through painting these images, I intend to subvert the misconception that digital images are ethereal and disposable by recreating them in a physical medium. The viewer's time with a painted image is slow, unlike the instantaneous consumption that happens through screens. Likewise, these paintings are larger than screen sizes to address the illusion of intimacy the original images present. In an online setting, images like these read as one-on-one interactions between the subject and the viewer. By creating them on a larger scale, it is easier to understand these images as accessible to many people at once.
My paintings also examine how heavily conventional feminine identity relies on the body even in a nonphysical setting, and questions the ways women are still judged and valued primarily on their physical beauty and the perceived utility of their bodies. Many places online, especially those considered to be hubs of internet culture, have historically been populated by men. Despite the closing gender gap in internet users, many of these sites and their user bases still function under the premise that online spaces are masculine. At best the presence of women on these sites is tolerated (though not accepted), and at worst they are hostile to women unless they are willing to exhibit themselves as sexual objects. In the photos I have selected as source material, the body exists as its own entity, with the woman's face strategically hidden or cropped from the final image by the women themselves. Through this process, I intend to examine the ways in which women are still limited by their identity online.
In a culture where internet users are encouraged to publish every detail of their lives and information is readily accessible, privacy is becoming an increasingly rare luxury that many people seem to be readily willing to abandon. With the adaptation of the internet into our everyday lives, the line between what is public and what is private has forever been blurred. These images, above all else, represent a dramatic reversal in the public-private hierarchy. The camera phones and female figures featured in my work create a juxtaposition between cutting edge technology and instinctive human urges, and hopefully cause the viewer to consider if technology is more relevant to their everyday life as tool or toy.