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 their 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.
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.