Currently in my work, I’m exploring the idea of representing things as if they were computerized, synthetic and uncanny. The ubiquity of the digital experience becomes a mind bending, personality shaping fact of life that confronts us on a moment to moment basis; spanning from our intimate to professional lives. There is a disparity between this and our physical being. The internet offers up a representation of life, interaction, society and a quasi-lived experience which can be easily mistaken for the real world. In using technology, our grip on reality is gained and lost again.

My paintings gain and lose a grip on representation, or that exchange moments of representation for abstraction: bodies become flattened or simplified geometry; scenery is compressed while depth is achieved through the application of paint; I consider both organic flesh and digital glitch in my palette. In doing this, I’m working through this idea that disparity between objective reality and our constant engagement with a digital facsimile of it changes our collective outlook; that the computer is both a tool for self-discovery and a means for us to lose our identity; that society is simultaneously created and subverted online.

March 29th, 2018


Justin O'Brien is a visual artist and designer. He studied Visual Arts at Suffolk County Community College in 2012, then attended Pratt Institute where he graduated with a BFA in Digital Arts in 2016. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and is an artist in residence at Trestle Gallery in Sunset Park, NY.