October 18 - November 27, 2021
From Barry Whistler Gallery:
“When gazing into a screen, voyeurism and safety go hand in hand. We watch from one side of a veil, shielded in the (ostensible) knowledge of our own invisibility, while our eyes may feast copiously on whatever passes through our feed. But a screen — in both its material and digital forms — is inherently porous. It may filter, but particles inevitably get across from both sides, even if its holes are only as wide as a pixel.
The aesthetic allure of the works on view in New Paintings functions by way of a similar logic, comfortably — if ambivalently — inhabiting the visual lexicon of the screen while calling its fraught status and complicated promises to the surface. The eye rests easily on each of these paintings, which, although inherently static, invoke the illusion of movement — frozen GIFs that hover like afterimages, refusing to settle. Drawing from diverse source imagery embedded in horizontal RGB lines that recall the fuzzy flicker of a CRT television screen, the paintings evoke a tacit awareness of the hypermediation of the self, in which experience is constantly in confusion with its representation through digital images.
While the paintings beckon our gaze with their synesthetic, screen-like auras, they never neglect to call into question this instinctive comfort. Are we being drawn in by the represented subject, or the representation itself? Are we really “safe”? By conflating human and machine perspectives, and asking us to place ourselves in the position of the screen, Harnden makes the world through the looking glass come alive in new and troubling ways, allowing us to read his source images as from a distance, distorted but all the more real. New Paintings alludes to — but never reveals — a wilderness that lies beneath the skin of the screen. There is an aching to get inside.
Written by Vanessa Holyoak”
315 Cole Street, #120
Dallas, 75207 TX
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