This series focuses on the experience, effects and phenomena of social networking. A progressively common aspect of this feature of modern culture is disconnection from the immediate social environment, facilitated by a total absorption in the ubiquitous online connection. Within a society dominated by a frenzied image-saturated culture, personal identity is now aligned with an online persona. We are defined, debatably in narrow terms, through the vehicle of the online profile, available on a huge range of available networks, gaming pages, work sites, personal websites, dating sites, blogs and more-- by our comments, our likes and dislikes, what we eat, who we vote for, how we look, what music we like, what we believe, and our vacations. We manufacture our virtual identity, however deliberately, through images and the increasingly reflexive “status update,” similar to the image crafted by celebrities and public figures. The digital world redefines the rules of boundaries, communication styles, personalities, and personal identity. These paintings juxtapose a singular figure within a solitary, undefined space, with the individual preoccupied by a glowing technical device. The progress in the last year with this project included exploring various dominant trends of online culture, such as the “selfie”, hashtags, and the “like” system of Facebook. One of my paintings from this series was shown in the 12th Michiana Annual Art Competition, where it won Best Painting. I also had the opportunity to show five of the paintings in an exhibition at Open Concept Gallery in Grand Rapids.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kari_friestad/6/