Image Search

An exploration of the aesthetic value underlying common internet image searches.

"suri_cruise.jpg" 2016
60x60 inches: vinyl wall decal
"pink_azaleas.jpg" 2015
15x30 inches: archival inkjet, mirror, poplar and plexiglas
"pink_azeleas.jpg" detail

"african_violets.jpg" 2015
30x30 inches: archival inkjet, mirror, poplar and plexiglas

"african_violets.jpg" detail
"disney_gallery01.jpg" 2016
30x30 inches: archival inkjet on photo rag
"mountains_panorama.jpg" 2016
44x24 inches: archival inkjet on acetate
"Intriguing_Ideas_For_Your_Next_Family_Vacation.jpg" 2016
44x24 inches: archival inkjet on acetate
"Selfie" 2016
Receipt paper and colored pencil
I am fascinated by the way computers recognize images. A Google image search can distinguish between species of flowers, can recognize an individual human face among millions, but people attach meaning to images in ways that no computer can. "Image Search" links human and computer perceptions of the world, revealing aesthetic value and meaning in the data underlying even the most common internet images.

Stripped of their familiar arrangements, the underlying similarity of the photos as digital information becomes evident, so that an image of Suri Cruise looks only subtly different from that of a bunch of violets. The meanings of the images, as translated by computer, alter completely -- yet they remain beautiful.

The presentation and framing in this series are an important part of the works. "suri_cruise.jpg" is a large wall decal, and other works are printed on transparent acetate, so that pixels appear to merge with the wall behind them. Constructed of poplar with mirrored interiors, the frames reflect the pixel pattern so that it seems to extend infinitely beyond the borders. This visual effect conveys the depth and expanse of the digital realm from which the images came, connecting light-based pixels with the pigment-based print. Other works are unframed and unprotected, clinging to the wall by small magnets.
"Selfie" is another attempt to bridge the gap between how humans understand digital photographs, and how computers do. It is a colored pencil drawing of the code that composes a small digital selfie.

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