“I rid myself of Facebook a few years ago. Last winter I deleted my Instagram account as well. Pandemic quarantine with limited IRL human interaction had amplified my growing distaste for social media. I no longer want to participate in transforming all lived experience into information, hoarded as big, private, exploitable data. It’s too easy to click, share, compare, and grow in apathy.
My recent practice explores emerging technologies as material and subject matter. I had been creating virtual reality installations in early 2020 and transitioned to coding augmented reality to share my work while socially distanced. By the year’s end, I was deeply screen fatigued and questioning the value of my digital creations. In January, I began painting as a daily practice, small watercolors from life, as a way to engage with my body as image-making technology, to slow down, to savor my surroundings, and to honor the present moment. A few months later, posting the series on my wall, I realized the impulse to paint and my social-media-free existence were connected.
@afewgoodpaintings is an alternate personal image archive. The exhibition format of the work echos that of an Instagram page, 3 pictures wide by the height of the wall. With each new painting, I rotate the set, posting the most recent in the top left corner, and moving the rest in order. This format allows me to view the paintings as a collection and reflect on my progress re-learning to render the world with traditional media. The captured moments associated with each painting are vibrant in my memory. Meditations on rocks I like to hold. The Hudson Valley landscape transitioning through spring. The long sunrises and sunsets witnessed while in residence in Lithuania. My daughter’s bright and patient 4 year old face…”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Tess Elliot is a multidisciplinary artist from Queens, NY. She received her BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art in 2008 and her MFA from the Ohio State University in 2017. She is currently Assistant Professor of Art, Technology, & Culture at the University of Oklahoma. Her work has been including in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, recently at Vinegar Contemporary in Birmingham, AL, The 8 Fest in Toronto, Canada, Aggregate Space Gallery in Oakland, CA, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival in Ann Arbor, MI. She is living, working, and raising her daughter in Norman, Oklahoma.
© Tess Elliot