Full Artist's statement
Match/Enemy is a new body of work that installed as a whole, integrates narrative and portraiture of the social and personal habits of singles. These watercolor paintings focus specifically on the branding and visual communications of men in their choices of visual representation through social media dating sites. It is a project that looks at how men in particular choose to portray themselves through an initial profile picture. These portraits offer promises, humor, intrigue, fantasy, passion, beauty, and a chance to explore desire.
Dating sites now start to act as fantasy shopping in rapid fire. How do we start to respond to the unintentional or intentional branding, advertising, and fantasy play that potential mates utilize in their profile pictures? How are those ideas conveyed through environment, gaze, cropping, focus, and mathematical algorithms developed by programmers for dating sites? These are some of the questions that I’m beginning to explore through these portraits.
Taking the time to slowly look and paint images that are the results of “matching” with me, allows both myself and the viewer to get to know these individuals better through their choice of image. Each “portrait” is painted in the time that it would take to spend during the dating process to get to know the individuals better. Through the looking and painting process, it’s like playing 20 questions in speed dating to discover more about the individual’s choice of personal portrayal. How do the percentages of Match and Enemy influence the way that a profile picture is viewed? What emotions does just a picture evoke when thinking of them as a date?
Utilizing the critique of the female gaze and the power of choice allows for the viewer to gather meaning within these images. Whether a projected image starts to convey a fun time, potential danger, illusions of fantasy and romance book covers, to average joe will be a personal experience each viewer takes on.
These works on paper are on 9 x 12” with the image approximately 7 x 8” and 4 times the size of the portraits in my iPhone screen, where most of my “shopping” research occurs.
Match/Enemy will be displayed in a grid of over 200 individual portraits that will incorporate the percentage of match from 100% to 0% match and 0% to 100% enemy. This will make up a large scale wall installation that gives a much larger look at contemporary masculinity and who may or may not be my own best match.