Though research has emerged linking excessive social media use with anxiety and depression, our collective internet addiction shows no sign of slowing down. The fictionalized, digital selves we present to the online world comprise the bulk of some people’s social interactions. Australian artist Robin Eley interrogates the divide between one’s physical and digital identity in his new show “Prism,” opening at 101/Exhibit’s Hollywood location on October 18.
For his new series of paintings and sculptures, Eley uses both analog and digital techniques, exploiting the paradoxes of his chosen media to further his conceptual goals. He presents weighty, convincing bodies interacting in a digitized space. His portraits are designed on Maya, a 3D modeling software, and then painted by hand. Eley challenges himself to make the artificial-looking blueprints into human figures that are as natural as possible. Almost hyperrealist, his monochromatic paintings bathed in colored light are decorated with triangular patterns that evoke the geometric flatness of the graphics his software produces.
Accompanying the portraits are 3D-printed busts that manifest directly from his digital designs. Eley assembles and buffs these pieces by hand, once again adding an element of the human touch to his process. But, as he points out, these clear, prismatic pieces have no distinguishing facial characteristics and cast no shadow, alluding to the often one-dimensional online personas we project.
“Prism” opens October 18 at 101/Exhibit and will be on view through November 29.