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The paradox of the real

At Southampton City Art Gallery 18th May - 8th June 2019 Deborah Goatley-Birch Acrylic and ink on wood The paradox of the real Through digital reproduction using smartphones, the practice of visual creation has become instantaneous and widespread. Photo filter applications used for posts on social media platforms have re-invented the beauty ideal by a simulation of reality. Consumers of the digital image are usually familiar with image manipulation and are happy to continue excepting this fiction.



In contrast, the Leonardo da Vinci drawings materialise the authenticity awarded to the esteemed ‘Old Masters’, when cast in the feminine form ‘Old Mistress’ the connotation is altogether different, to say the least (Pollock, 1995). This self-portrait was painted from a smartphone photograph after it had been processed in a photo-filter app. Using a UV torch the viewer can expose hidden lines and contours which represent the ‘real’, although themselves are merely a contrived simulation of life. This work will have an additional participatory element as the viewer is invited to disrupt the painted simulation by use of smartphone photography applications and share these outcomes to #southamptoncityartgallery, converging the material and digital image. Multiple alternative versions of the portrait will be shared creating a plural narrative and collaborative process through shared image intervention.

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