Daniel Benjamin Gallery is pleased to participate in the 8th edition of Salón ACME with a solo booth by Josh Rowell.
For Salon Acme, the artist presents new works from his "Painting Language" series, exploring the rise of Facebook over the last 16 years; as well as an entirely new series of mosaic works that fall under his broader concept of digital vs handmade and virtual vs real.
Rowell considers the role of an artist as someone who should provide commentary on contemporary society, understanding art to be the purest distillation of any given culture, society or time within which it exists. Therefore, his practice over the last four years has been primarily concerned with two key questions, where are we (humans in the 21st century) going? And how can this be interpreted through art practice? The artist believes that our increasing reliance on technology and the internet is allowing for the ‘digitalization’ of our natural species and this is something that fascinates, inspires and troubles him. He uses his interest in the ‘aesthetics of the digital’ to create works that are deliberately handmade. For Rowell, there is an interesting divide between these spaces, the digital world is intangible, often invisible, whilst the deliberate tactile nature of the handmade, allows for a contradictory sense of permanence. .
The "Painting Language" series exemplifies the boundary between digital Aesthetics and the nature of the hand-made; between the virtual and the real. Using passages of text, the artist paints the corresponding language as a complex system of colour coding, so that the viewer has the potential to read the painting in both its original and altered state. The idea of working with coding systems was born out of an interest in the functions of digital technology in the 21st century, and creating a visual response to the idea of big-data. For Salon Acme, the chosen series is based on the various wikipedia entries for Facebook, since 2004, mapping its evolution. The artist presents the changing notion of ‘Facebook’ through time - from a college yearbook to an American for-profit mega-corporation and social networking service with an unprecedented global user-ship, to more troubling recent times with data scandals and declining user numbers.
Rowell's new mosaic works are based on emerging "trends" within internet culture, new social behaviours that evolved and developed entirely within the virtual space. Josh was most fascinated by the popularity of trending comment memes, which are found on social media platforms and web forums. By deciding to recreate these messages as mosaics the artist seeks isolate these brief and fleeting moments that we would otherwise scroll past, without giving them a second glance. In doing so the artist is reversing the transient nature of the social media feeds that we constantly refresh. The artist assumes the role of an archivist operating within the digital space, creating permanence in an otherwise temporal domain.
Thursday 6th February to Sunday 9th February
Calle Gral. Prim 30-32, Juárez, C.P. 06600, Mexico City