Sandra Doore explores the art and psyche of texting in ‘Lost in Translation ‘
February 24, 2015
Visual artist Sandra Doore is interested in how people communicate, especially when it comes to texting.
Her latest exhibit, "Lost in Translation " that will be on display at the Kimball Art Center’s Badami Gallery from Friday, Feb. 27, through Sunday, April 12, examines individuals’ perceptions and expectations when they text.
The panels of etched oil-stick art and textural applications form an almost oppressive feel, while representing many aspects of the texting concept.
The idea for the exhibit emerged from a text conversation Doore had with her son who was away at college.
"We would text a lot, but he would always ask if I was mad, because he couldn’t hear my real voice in the texts," Doore said during a break in installing her exhibit at the Kimball Art Center. ‘So, I started making smiley faces in my texts and that got the whole thing rolling."
Doore buried herself in research and found a list of texting acronyms that include the basic LOL and LMAO.
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"It was a 42-page list that was in alphabetical order," she said. "I got to page three and had already counted 175 acronyms and I was still in the Bs."
The artist immediately thought about how she could incorporate this list in her art.
"Well, I always have my phone with me, it’s my best buddy, so to speak, and I like taking photos and can step back and see what I’ve done," she said. "The iPhone has portrait and landscape modes, so that got me thinking about linguistic landscapes, which led into making my pieces."
She began etching the list on panels by using oil sticks.
"I started without knowing where this was going, and the oil created a haze on top of the letters," she said.
The haze added to the works because Doore thought of how important it was that texting needed to be clear.
"The sticks also scratched themselves into the background paint and if you look at these pieces closely, you can see textures," she said.
Doore began experimenting and laid down some tracing paper on top of these etchings.
"So in a sense, you can see the motion of writing and blackboards in abstract expressionism," she explained.
These works are compiled in just one of the panels that are featured in the exhibit.
"One day I was working on this panel and saw my fingerprints all over my phone screen and that got me thinking of forensics," Doore said. "I started to ask people for their fingerprints and that led to asking them to give me their fingerprints of the fingers they use to text."
Doore found some people used their index fingers, while others use their thumb and others, still, use all their fingers.
"I would take their prints and refer back to the acronym list and use the acronyms that start with the first letter of their first name and etch them into the paint of each of their fingerprints," she said. "I would highlight them with iridescent colors."
Another panel for "Lost in Translation " deals with how people digest a new language.
"I made a series of triangles and utilized the acronym list again to focus on female and male energies and how the idea of social media changes hierarchy and so forth."
This panel uses pieces of melted record vinyl and has a sculptural element to it and how the media uses sexual imagery to sell things.
Another panel continued using the record album motif.
"I created many circles the size of a long-play record and put fluff balls into the circles, because it was like hearing things like a record or the ring of my phone made me feel good and fuzzy," Doore said.
Other aspects of the exhibit explore how texting affects human brains, how many texts are filled with useless information, the perceived concept of privacy, texting idiosyncrasies and how texting is considered "finger speech."
"I heard someone do a TED talk and called texting ‘finger speech’ because texting in more akin to talking than it is writing," she said. "Then we get into a more humorous panel about sexting, but without graphic images."
When thinking about a title for the exhibit, Doore came up with "Lost in Translation " and included the ellipsis.
"Those three dots represent the idea of continuation of what I’m doing, but they are also present when you text," she explained. "After you text someone, you see three dots that suggest that they are texting you back. The funny thing is you can see the dots and you wait in anticipation about what they are texting back, but very often you don’t receive anything."
Doore discovered a name for that — "eternal hope and ultimate letdown."
"I thought that was a fitting title for that panel," she said.
In addition to the visual aspect, "Lost in Translation " has sort of an interactive element because Doore requests those who come to see the work not talk while viewing and pondering the panels.
"I thought about asking people not to talk because the exhibit is about texting and would hope people would become a little more aware about how they relate to texting themselves," she said. "My husband and I actually text when we are eating dinner out and sitting across from each other because sometimes there are some things that are better left unsaid out loud, and things like that."
While Doore’s exhibit officially opens on Friday, the artist will give a free Art Talk at the KAC on Thursday at 6 p.m.
"I will discuss my work but also reflect back to my bachelor years in school and talk about my interest in three-dimensional painting and my time at San Diego State University," Doore said. "It was while I was there that I started playing with different materials.
"As a painter, I wanted to come into real space and made three-dimensional paintings, which turned more sculptural, so it was hard for me to come back to a flat surface," she said. "That was quite a push for me to do this."
The Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Ave., will host a free Art Talk with artist Sandra Doore on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. Doore, is one of the female artists that are showing in the "100% Women: Four Women to Watch" exhibit, which includes works by Bonnie Sucec, Susan Beck and Susan Cofer. Doore’s show, "Lost in Translation " is a continuation of a body of work that reflects upon texting and its effect on the human psyche, personal relationships, and society as a whole. The Art Talk is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.kimballartcenter.org .
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