For an exhibition about selfie culture called Self-Ish in the brand new Washington State University Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. This three-person show called Self•ish includes myself and colleagues Doug Gast and Io Palmer. From the curators statement: “Though varied in process and mediums, all three artists have assembled an exhibition reflecting on a central theme—the formation and depiction of personhood within our multifaceted and progressively digital era.” ⠀

Exhibition: August 21 – October 6, 2018⠀
Reception: Tuesday, September 11th, 12:00-1:30 pm

Joe Hedges We Care About You and Your Memories 126″ x 95″ x 60″ oil on canvas, plastic storage containers, macbook, PC, monitors, electronics, glass, concrete (Kerry James Marshall prints in background)

It’s a large self-portrait, oil on canvas. In front of the canvas, are two upright rectangular pieces of tempered glass and three screens appearing to display areas of the painting that are behind the monitors.  When seen from a particular vantage point this creates the momentary illusion that the monitors themselves are transparent. The overall effect is that the viewer may initially have trouble distinguishing what is painting, what is digital and what is a reflected or refracted through glass.

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STATEMENT

What could be more self-ish than a self-portrait? Although the self-portrait has indeed helped painters to promote their own work and celebrate their own likeness, the genre has also provided opportunities for reflection and introspection. In this case, I am thinking about myself in both an old-world sense–my skin, eyes, hopes, dreams and fears–but also how my “self” has been fragmented, commodified and ultimately distorted through contemporary technologies. For those using social media, identity has never been more malleable, elusive or dubious.  We present only certain aspects of our selves on certain platforms and must frequently consider the ramifications of “sharing” particular images or ideas. These ideas and images are in turn used to promote engagement from other users in order to sell advertisements. Algorithmic feedback loops and an increasingly acute awareness of the deliberateness with which others are crafting their identities have created not only crises of individual identity, but of reality itself. The large scale of this work is in part a way to give me a sense of ontological satisfaction by making an aspect of my self more physically present and seemingly permanent. At the same time, the piece acknowledges the disorientation of the present moment; by obfuscating the literal, aesthetic and conceptual boundaries between media technologies such as painting, digital imaging and installation, I invite the viewer to consider the role of reality and representation in defining the self.

Joe Hedges We Care About You and Your Memories 126″ x 95″ x 60″ oil on canvas, plastic storage containers, macbook, PC, monitors, electronics, glass, concrete (Joseph Beuys photo print in background)

with my colleague Io Palmer’s work on left.