Human Nature Perfectly, Below Grand NYC, New York, NY, 2021
Press Release:We live in a strange world, where we touch screens more than the ones we love. By day, I work as an image correction specialist in the beauty industry, spending several hours in a dark room, retouching photographs. This work profoundly informs my art practice as I stockpile hidden aspects of production such as blemishes, color adjustments and digital masks to construct new portraits. I integrate these digital aesthetic elements into my work to open up discussions about image manipulation, computerized labor and self-perception.
Familiar Faces is a series of soft gestural black and white portraits that deals with my experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Avoiding physical contact with people and maintaining distance feels unnatural, especially in densely populated areas like New York and New Jersey. Even in my neighborhood, familiar faces began to appear strange, and unrecognizable due to masks, more limited interactions and an absence of response. I started this work because the current moment resembles an urban fog from a dystopian novel, where faces appear distorted, and figures disappear into a colorless haze.
I create the majority of my work through computer software that removes all traces of my hand— the process iterates the disappearance of the physical body on and off the screen. With this work, I aim to express the complexity of 21st-century identity, and the disconnect between the body and those around us.
Link to Exhibition at Below Grand NYC
Interview with Travis LeRoy Southworth