The photography as a medium has come a long way since its inception. Today, everybody is capturing the world around them using their phones and sharing it on social media. Since everybody can have agency over the aesthetic products of their lives using post-production, the digital society in which we live in has defined the next aesthetic wave. Kate Steciw exhibition opening at Brand New Gallery in Milan will present her work based on manipulation of stock images. Using found images, Steciw creates unique layered compositions with her deconstructive methods, blurring the line between representation and abstraction.
Kate Steciw no longer owns a decent camera, as she states herself, but she still takes pictures daily, saving them for years. Alongside other people’s photos and stock images, she uses this database of hers to create new works of art using her knowledge of Photoshop and her experience in retouching. Mixing her old pictures, recent pictures, somebody else’s pictures, she glues the cut pieces and strings them together by hand, creating whimsical collages. Avoiding the tradition of the rectangular photograph, she plays with the shapes which are determent by slicing in Photoshop or physically, continuing to further manipulate them via framing, installation and sculptural intervention.
Kate Steciw is a New York-based artist whose work practices are challenging the medium of photography. Favoring imagery purchased online and further manipulating them, her work examines the understanding of the physical object and its digital representation and distribution. With a long-term experience in photo retouching where she first started to play with other people’s photos and take joy in it, she has decided to evolve this play into fine art. The stock images she uses are removed from their commercial context once they become a part of her collage, becoming art objects instead. In this way, she finds new meaning in photographs originally intended for a much mundane purpose. Exploring how images are made, function, and articulate in the digital world, her work pushes boundaries of contemporary photography to the extent that it could be even interpreted as being outside the medium. Often inspired by popular media and mass media, her work can be associated with the post-internet movement. Theoretically, she is inspired by works of Karl Marx, Pierre Bourdieu, Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze and Knut Hamsun.
The practice of Kate Steciw asks important questions about the medium of photography, and her pieces present relevant markers of art made in our time. Her work has been presented at four solo exhibitions and numerous group shows in The United States and Europe. Steciw’s work has been featured in publications such as Interview Magazine, Art Forum, The New Yorker and Art in America. The exhibition Shape of Things will be on show at Brand New Gallery from April 9th till May 12th, 2016.
Featured images: Kate Steciw - American, appetizer, background, barbecue, bare, beef, blank, body, crumpled, decorative, diet, dinner, edges, empty, face, finger, hotdog, massage, material, meat, messy, pleasure, product, ragged, raw, relaxing, skin, texture, wood, 2013. All images courtesy of Brand New Gallery.