ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Chloe Wise
Talking about body representation in the digital world, I had an e-chat with Chloe Wise; An artist hailing from Canada and known for her work that is both hilariously accurate and clever in its perspective. Titled Literally Me, the project is a loop of self portraiture where the artist depicts herself, depicting herself, depicting herself. Re-launched at the New York Art Book Fair at the MoMA PS1 the zine is another outlet of self depiction, you can take a look at the trailer here.
Can you describe your work, if you had to package it, what would the shiny sticker say?
Chloe Wise: My work takes on a variety of forms and media. I work with painting, sculpture, video and installation. I do actually make some work that is packaged, because I love the idea of art being presented like a consumer product, which it essentially is. Mine would say: NEW! multimedia art by up-and-coming Canadian artist Chloe Wise! Critics are calling it “pretty funny” and “a cry for help”!
When you look at pictures of yourself what do you think about?
That’s a vague question. When I look at pictures of myself that I’ve taken or asked someone to take, it’s likely that I chuckle because I probably made a weird face or put on an outfit that I find funny, like a Corona hat and Uggs. Sometimes I think about wanting to paint photos of myself, because I like to paint myself, but similarly, I look at photos of other people and want to paint them, because I generally like painting people.
The last caption you used?
Crouching Cougar, Hidden Gay” a docu-drama set against the breathtaking landscapes of Bushwick (PG-13)
"Literally Me", is well, literally you. Can you talk about how your process?
My series “Literally Me” is meant to be a commentary on the way people perceive the use of the self portrait in today’s millenial society. I created one self portrait per day which I ultimately culminated into a zine, which comes in three sizes : Medium, Large and Family Size (which is 3x4 feet). I would go to my studio every day in some whack outfit, take a photo of myself, and then paint using that photo as reference, while wearing that same outfit. I would then document each piece with myself in the photo, which I found to be a generally hilarious experience. This series is basically an attempt to draw parallels between selfies and the greater history of self-portraiture in art. In comparing these two similar yet disparate methods of self representation, I’m playing with and calling attention to the stigmas that surround narcissism and selfie culture, namely as pertaining to women in the digital paradigm.
There can be some criticism towards ‘selfies’ and self portraiture, especially towards women and young girls, how do you respond to that?
Selfies are loaded with assumptions that can be gendered, interestingly, and people tend to police each other based on what kind of content they produce. Nowadays the question is no longer IF we take selfies (the iPhone’s front facing camera implores the user to do so), but rather, in what way we interact with these photos. Judgements can be made on whether we post them, how often, with that kind of captions, what level of self awareness, and so on. Girls get judged based on how they engage with and broadcast their sexuality, and the definition of narcissism as of late can almost be said to be based upon these factors. This is where I find it interesting, as an artist as well as participant in this phenomenon, to enter into a dialogue on the matter. It’s interesting how the same photo can be taken as either a #shameless #selfie or a self-aware net-art portrait depending on context.
Do you censor yourself for the internet?
Sometimes. And when I do, I feel really guilty for giving in to what other people think should be censored. I usually have a “BYE HATERS” mentality and try to be my uncensored self, but in order for something to be viewed, one has to consciously decide to present it to their viewers, so it’s all very curated, and inherently, censorship is involved.
How well (if at all!) do you think the internet represent you?
Interesting question! Hard to say. On one hand, very well. I post what I think is funny, I’m relatively honest, and I think my personality and interests and artwork are all visible on there. On the other hand, there are images of me floating online from when I used to “model” and it’s quite honestly embarrassing and not an apt representation of my current self, and yet, that’s my past so it’s not inaccurate. It’s bizarre and spooky to realize that the internet holds a record of my actions and images, that basically can not be erased. In that sense, the internet is completely accurate in that it contains photos and evidence from every era of my life. Which is embarrassing but kind of beautiful, in a weird way.The contrast of complete honesty / anonymity on these platforms makes the internet a very complicated and special place to be represented within.