PDN Photo of the Day

Finger Smears Point to Technology’s Hidden Art

Tabitha Soren: Surface Tension, an exhibition of photography by former television journalist Tabitha Soren (b. 1967), explores human engagement with digital devices.

Presented by the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, the exhibition of 20 photographs from Soren’s Surface Tension series invites the viewers to look beyond the picture and see how it was consumed by its intended audience.

“Your intense relationship with technology is actually a work of art,” states the museum.

Surface Tension intervenes into the transactional relationships we conduct with our digital devices—and meddles with the “neutrality” of the information we receive through them. Soren pulls images from social media, web searches, images shared by friends and family, and screengrabs from news videos. Her subjects are united by a focus on touch, reinstating this sense as an essential aspect of our human experience.

Soren shoots iPad screens with an 8 x 10 view camera under raking light to reveal the grime we leave behind—the fingerprints and greasy smears. The photographs are titled simply as urls, bringing viewers back to the “original” of the image. The work considers “how people consume, manipulate, dismiss, cherish, interact with image-driven content online—and the relentless layering that accompanies this experience.”

“Tabitha Soren’s work in Surface Tension is conceptually elegant, timely, and deeply resonant,” says Lisa Fischman, curator of the exhibition and Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis Museum. “Soren’s pictures are rendered with painterly detail, luscious and beautiful, by virtue of the surface mess posed in contrast to the discernible subjects that emerge below. The project is simple, suggestive, and transformational.”

In conjunction with Surface Tension, the limited-edition volume Trace, featuring Tabitha Soren, Kota Ezawa, and Penelope Umbrico, recently published by Yoffy Press in Atlanta, Georgia, will be available for purchase in the Davis Museum shop and online.

Tabitha Soren: Surface Tension
Davis Museum at Wellesley College
February 7 – June 9, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 7, 2019 from 6:30  – 9:00 pm

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