Sunday, February 24, 2019

"Naked Selfie No. 12"

3.75" x 4" (block)
White line woodcut
Watercolors on Arches

The latest in the "Naked Selfie" series. I was just tickled when I found the photo of this guy casually waving to the camera in his naked selfie. Check out all of them on this Pinterest album.

Also, I've finally written an artist statement about the Naked Selfie series that I think rightly suits it! Here it is: 

My latest work – a series of “Naked Selfies” of others - explores the translation of visual information from photographs to woodcuts. At the start of this process are people standing naked in front of a mirror, usually in their own bathroom, cell phone in hand, posing in a manner they presumably feel best represents how they wish to be seen. Or maybe they simply want to document the honest appearance of their body at this moment in time. They snap a photo, and at some point the image ends up on the Internet. Maybe the person who took the photograph posted it to an amateur photography or pornography site, or maybe a mistake was made, or someone they sent it to betrayed a trust. One way or another, the image appears on Google searches, which is how I find it.  
At this point in the process there is how I subjectively view the original naked selfie, which is different from the perhaps millions of others who have also seen it. The proliferation of naked selfies on the Internet is simultaneously shocking and banal, depending on who is doing the Google search. My subjective perspective influences how I re-create the image as a white line woodcut. I drop the rectangular border, background, and focus on the isolated figure. Crisp, white lines combined with airy gradations and woodgrain textures emphasize the shape and volume of the body in a way that is more aesthetic than lascivious. I work on small blocks because I want viewers to have an intimate experience with the physical work. Working small scale in woodcut also renders faces abstract enough to give the subjects anonymity. 
At the end of this process there is the print I made as it is received by an audience. The translation into woodcuts recontextualizes this photographic imagery and thereby invite reactions and associations that greatly differ from those typically evoked by the original images. Perhaps some of these woodcuts will be seen by the people who took the original photographs. If so, I wonder, would they recognize themselves?  

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