Internet takes over The Frame in latest show
StraiGHT ouTTA deviantART focuses on internet’s formative influence on young artists
By Samantha Ward, The Tartan, October 17, 2011
Those who braved the rain and cold Friday night to see straiGHT ouTTA deviantART, The Frame’s latest show, were in for a strange treat. The harsh weather was forgotten upon entrance to the warm, brightly lit room. As bass music pumped, a mash-up of YouTube videos punctured the beats with their own soundtrack. A mix of characters ranged from a fully costumed fox-human and a girl with a large tail to students in North Face jackets. All were chatting quietly while assessing the artwork. In a sense, the viewers had become pieces of art themselves.
The show was about the manifestation of internet art, a culture often rejected as cheap and unrefined. The creators, junior art major Mitsuko Verdery, senior art major Tara Helfer, senior art and psychology double major Honor Randall, senior BHA student Meagan Trott, senior art major Caitlin Boyle, and senior BCSA student Tim Sherman, fully embraced this culture in an eclectic tribute to influences which have built them up as artists. Described as “where fine art meets 4chan,” the show honored various internet sensations like YouTube, deviantART, and Myspace, along with their most popular subjects. Works were often accompanied by an Urban Dictionary definition of the phenomenon.
Tim Sherman, wearing a sleek mask straight out of V for Vendetta and referring to himself as “XXDeathRingerXX,” was live video-mixing clips from YouTube. He explained that later in the night, when karaoke began, the performances would be recorded live and streamed on internet forums so that anyone could become an internet sensation. Sherman commented that the internet culture permeates millions of lives daily, and walks the line between lowbrow and highbrow art.
Across the room, the creator of a large, Warhol-like print stood behind a camera. Caitlin Boyle’s pink hair and unique style corresponded perfectly with her intensely colored pieces. The Warhol recognition was implemented with a repeating portrayal of a My Little Pony doll using found imagery collaged in Photoshop. Boyle described the work as a satirical piece going back to the roots of her history as an artist. She said that the show was commenting on how artists are influenced by the beginning practices of media that the internet offers, before they enter the world of fine art and “Warhol Culture” that provokes the rejection of their initial roots.
Other pieces included a photo mosaic of a thousand pictures of the stereotypical “Myspace pose.” Randall explained that some of the pictures were actually old photos of herself along with the general population of the internet, generated from Google searches like “in the bathroom” and “my new haircut.” Helfer’s piece, “Portraits of well known cats,” included small, careful prints of cats that have become internet sensations in beautiful frames, featuring stars like the “I can has?” cat. Trott’s three large Photoshop collages made an ironic comment on what internet-goers will find on a website such as deviantART. One of her prints included a portrayal of a crying kitten, and another detailed the complex psyche of Pikachu.
The show embraced everything tacky and crazy, and reaffirmed that many artistic endeavors today are born from the internet. It offered a comfort for artists looking to remember where they came from.