Out of Whack: Constructing Identity in the Digital Age
Walking into Windward’s Held and Bordy Family Gallery, one is immediately confronted with Justin Bower’s massive painting Decoder/Debaser (2011), on loan from the collection of parents Teddy and Emily Greenspan. The blurred, anonymous “portrait” feels apt for our time, a period of epic transitions and constant destabilization. Containing furious brushstrokes, vibrant vertical lines, and warped colors, the painting constantly works against stability. The figure seems to ask, “Where am I?” “What is happening to me?”
In the Spring of 2016, Visual and Media Arts faculty visited the Greenspans’ home and collection and selected Bower’s painting as a catalyst for this exhibition and accompanying class projects regarding identity in the contemporary world. Using digital animation and photography, Adobe Photoshop, and the analog processes of drawing and painting, students created works that addressed the concept of a constructed, and/or mediated identity. For Windward students, the new norm of decontextualized social and cultural bonds, combined with ever-expanding virtual social media relationships, has created a world in which identity is a highly fluid concept. During the run of this exhibition, students in the English Department will be responding to their works and ideas through poetry and prose and work directly with guest poet Jeremy Radin (http://www.jeremyradin.com).
The exhibit opening will take place on Monday, October 10 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Held and Bordy Gallery.
Teddy and Emily Greenspan, whose son Nolan is in the Class of 2019, are dedicated supporters of the arts, including LACMA, American Friends of the Israel Museum, and the upcoming Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Last year, they hosted a private parent and faculty walkthrough of LACMA’s “50 for 50: Gifts on the Occasion of LACMA’s Anniversary”exhibition focusing on important new work donated to the museum.