Blake Shell

Blake Shell

Work from The Gloria Project.

“My artistic practice stems from my interest in the influence of the Internet on my generation. The Internet is a central method of contemporary communication, reflecting humanity and all of its cultures, interests, and visions. I look to discover new aspects of humanity and to see the new forms that human interaction is taking online. My process begins with searching through the Internet, appropriating existing photos, text, and videos that connect to ideas about people’s interactions online. This mirrors the very process of the Internet, the accessibility of sampling other work and the new creation that comes from recombination. Internet users often take images from others to combine and recontextualize them to create new meanings. In my work this process comes full circle, recombining what I have found to reflect the nature of the Internet itself.

I often use abstraction in the work by blurring or pixilating the image. This extends the conceptual practice of appropriation in new ways; the image remains familiar but a clear reference is removed. Without concrete details, the artwork is focused on generalities, illustrating the similarities between many images used in community-based sites. The individuality is removed and patterns are now recognizable. In the blurred works distance is also obscured, and it seems that one is too close to focus or too far away to see detail. This reflects the digital world where everyone is accessible but never physically present. In much of my art, I use comments and images that refer to the virtual world and online culture. I bring together overly dramatic statements, pop culture references, and comments on technology in the work. I take the viewer into the world of the Internet, while removing the original context. Statements that are taken lightly online resonate differently when printed out and incorporated into a formal framework…” – Blake Shell 

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