BE PUBLIC IN THE NOW
EXHIBITION SHOW AT THE BRISBANE SQUARE LIBRARY
LEVEL 2, 266 GEORGE STREET, BRISBANE
04TH JUNE - 01ST SEPTEMBER 2017
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ABOUT THE COLLECTION

Christopher R. Inwood has created 17 large, traditional oil paintings that draw from the composition and aesthetic of our current homogenised digital culture, in order to provide a vehicle for direct communication with the people of our time. The ‘meme’ has been used as a formula for the composition of the paintings in this show, due to its simple and direct communication, and ease of engagement. The contemporary oil portraits are constructed using the unique parameters and benefits of the new digital aesthetic, which are combined with text that comments on issues prevalent in our current and future culture. The use of oil painting draws from Inwood’s knowledge of art history and his understanding of the refinement of painting, which enables him to bring the immaterial into the tangible world. The visual intrigue created by the painted memes is supported by didactics that direct the viewer to further digital information regarding each topic. The didactics display QR codes that link to videos, articles and content that will expand the knowledge of the viewers through the process of autodidactism (self education). This exhibition, Be Public In The Now, aims to directly communicate observations and pressing concepts of our future existence through the use of digital language combined with imagery indicative of our temporality. The extended format of this exhibition aims to further promote the growing importance and value of self-education, as autodidacticism becomes heavily relevant in an age of information and post truth. 

EXPLORING THE MEME

This exhibition uses the meme, the most direct and simplistic visual language of our time, in an attempt to make art that is accessible to every viewer. This direction is imperative for the progress of Contemporary Art, as it has currently lost its way to intentional convolution. This inaccessibility is because Art has become so insular that only the art educated can attempt to decode the message, ‘truth’, concepts or experience intended for observation.  The memes of the internet culture draw from, and function in a way similar to Richard Dawkin’s definition of a Meme, as do the paintings in the exhibition. The paintings discuss contemporary global subjects in need of attention across mass culture, and act in the same way as both Meme and meme. This is achieved through the use of the memes visual formulation, a cultural phenomenon prominent today in the digital world’s most open and direct vehicle of communication. This visual formula of the meme consists of punchy statements, jokes, and ideas digitally inserted in text over the top or bottom of a digitally cropped image of cultural references that depict a feeling, expression or event. These two elements in combination directly and successfully communicate a concept that discusses popular culture, digital culture, human existence, or any idea conceivable.  This is because the visual image drives a recognition of context in our shared existence and the text allows for a direct expression of concept, and in combination, the creator’s Meme is conveyed quickly through recognition, humour, observation, social convention or the like. 

EXPLORING THE MEME

The scale of the paintings is large and the composition of the work has been designed to draw attention to them individually, as the library’s layout does not allow for the viewer to take in the exhibition as a whole. Each painting consists of three main elements: the text, the image, and the black. The text is written by Inwood and gives direction towards the often subjective message of an image within an artwork. The text also draws the eye for the second glance allowing for further examination of the artwork. The image in the memes provides context, emotion and cultural reference, while also incorporating the aesthetic of the digital world, using a variety of editing techniques such as scaling, copying, colour editing and the magic crop. By incorporating these digital parameters in a painting, emphasis is placed on the techniques and mediums that are characteristic of our current visual language. The digital techniques that have been combined with a painted format utilize the human quality of tangible craftsmanship and give texture and physicality to presently intangible digital imagery. The black used in the background of each painting is fundamental in the identification of Inwood’s work, and also represents his personal philosophy. To Inwood, black represents the visual space in which he thinks, and also expresses the background of inevitable finality that is fundamental to all.

EXPLORING THE MEME

The didactics of the paintings in this show have a very clear direction and format, so as to open up the digital world to the viewer and facilitate the discovery of further information on the topics discussed within the pieces. By incorporating QR codes on the didactics, the viewer will be able to scan the code with their phone, and be directed to articles, videos, and content that furthers topics discussed within the painting.

BE PUBLIC IN THE NOW VIDEO

© Christopher R Inwood

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