Article By: Sasha Leon
IRL: Abbreviation for “In Real Life.” Often used to let people you are talking about something in the real world and not in the internet world. I.e.: “I totally hate that guy IRL!” (Internet) and “He/she does not live in New York IRL.” – Urban Dictionary.
The Untitled Space gallery is currently showing exhibition, “IRL: Investigating Reality,” a group show of more than 40 artists exploring what “IRL” means to them in today’s digital world. The theme is translated in numerous mediums, including painting, video, carving, photography, sculpture, textiles, and more. The works in the show juxtapose the mundanities of everyday life, address themes of “authenticity” versus edited, retouched or fictitious realities, nature versus cyber constructed content, as well as explore the intersection of digital and physical worlds. Curated by gallery director Indira Cesarine, “IRL: investigating Reality” is on view until June 21st, 2019. “The artwork in the exhibit emphasizes “real life” in many ways – not just related to the internet or technology – although that is definitely a part of it. I was curious how artists would respond to the theme, and there is a very interesting mix of works that on one hand touches on the intersection of digital and physical worlds and on the other hand escapes from that, with an emphasis on real life and real experiences. Some artists work in the show is heavily influenced by how technology has affected us, while others chose to focus on a more organic reality.” – Curator Indira Cesarine.
Artist Jeanette Hayes addresses IRL with her piece “Girls will be Girls.” Blurring the lines between real and fake, “Girls will be Girls” shows women’s bodies and the various interpretations it comes in: some idealized, some real, and some animated. The eeriness of the pieces come from the disparate juxtaposition of perfect-bodied anime/Disney characters and fashion models against plus size women with more real bodies and otherworldly creatures. In Hayes’ version of IRL, Minnie Mouse comes in Kardashian size – she pulls down her briefs to show a 3-inch waist and a perfectly molded behind. Katie Commodore’s “Greg and Tiffany” shows a sexual reality that’s often taboo: sex-doll relationships.
Made from gouache and watercolor on paper, Commodore’s take on IRL comes from sex exploration: her artwork has concentrated on creating intimate portraits of her friends, often focusing on how they express their sexuality. Fahren Feingold’s “More than My Body”, is a feminist watercolor manifesto that resonates with the “IRL” show in more than one way. The piece reads “Your body is not the most interesting part about you,” which touches on the unrealistic pursuit of happiness through other’s curated lifestyles on social media. Indira Cesarine aims to liberate women with her photographic art series “Escape in New York.” Cesarine presents the story of a girl who hits the streets of New York in her most vulnerable state: naked. “In an effort to reconnect with herself and feel alive, she takes back her identity by freeing herself from earthly possessions”.
“What does “IRL” or “in real life” mean to you?…” As we become more connected are we becoming more disconnected? As our computer monitors and smartphones take over our lives, we find ourselves longing for nature, for tangible connections, and genuine experiences. This exhibit asks the viewer to explore their own reality, navigate through fact and fantasy, take a deeper look at the effects of technology on contemporary culture, as well as reflect on what “authenticity” means to them.“ – Curator Indira Cesarine
“For you, the skies will be blue, the birds will sing, and your copy will be crafted by a dedicated little man whose wife will be sitting at home, knitting, wondering why your entry demands more of her husband‘s time than it should.”
“IRL: Investigating Reality” is on view at The Untitled Space gallery located at 45 Lispenard Street, NY, NY 10013 through June 21, 2019.
Exhibiting Artists include: Aela Labbe, Alexandra Rubinstein, Alison Jackson, Alison Stinely, Anne Barlinckhoff, Annika Connor, Becky Flanders, Buket Savci, Camilla Marie Dahl, Cara Lien, Chelsie Kirkey, Colin Radcliffe, Daniela Kovacic, Danielle Lessnau, Dara Vandor, Dolly Faibyshev, Elisa Garcia de la Huerta, Erin Victoria Axtell, Fahren Feingold, Giulia Livi, Grace Graupe Pillard, Gray Swartzel, Indira Cesarine, Jave Yoshimoto, Jeanette Hayes, Jennifer Dwyer, Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster, Karen Bystedt, Karen Mainenti, Kat Toronto aka Miss Meatface, Katie Commodore, Katy Itter, Leah Schrager, Linda Friedman Schmidt, Logan White, Mairi-Luise, Tabbakh, Mary Henderson, Mary Tooley Parker, Michael Liani, Nichole Washington, Reisha Perlmutter, Robin Tewes, Sydney Kleinrock, Tara Lewis, and Tracy Kerdman.
For more on the exhibition