Gretchen Andrew was born in 1988 in Los Angeles, California. She studied information theory at Boston College while working in Silicon Valley but later apprenticed with well-known figurative painting legend Billy Childish in London. Today, the Downtown L.A.-based artist is primarily known for her vision boards and associated performative internet manipulations of art world institutions such as Frieze Los Angeles, The Whitney Biennial, The Turner Prize, and the cover of Artforum.Read More
Her practice is simultaneously known as 'Search Engine Art' and 'Internet Imperialism'—critic Jonathan Griffin describes this in LALA Magazine as alluding to 'the Wild West possibilities of the Internet and to the scale of her artistic ambition.'
By identifying what the artist refers to as 'positive failures,' she is able to turn the global internet into her personal manifestation machine. Gretchen notes that 'the Internet cannot parse desire', so when she creates vision boards and websites expressing a desire to be on the cover of Artforum, the Internet immediately turns that into reality. 'The internet,' the artists explains,'skips from "Gretchen is hoping to be on the cover of Artforum someday" to "Gretchen is on the cover of Artforum."' The result is that Gretchen's vision boards appear above historically printed covers of the actual Artforum magazine.
Unlike fake or deep fake art, Gretchen's manipulation of digital information is clearly identifiable as art. 'It is not a conversation so much about real and fake as it is about desires versus fulfillment. To desire is very human, very physical, and I love making use of technology's failures to understand what it means to want something.'
Gretchen's work takes its most vivid and memorable physical form as vision boards which she makes both on canvas and gallery walls such as at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art in 2019.
The craft-based feminine and trivialized materials of her vision boards contrast with the male-dominated worlds of political control, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in which they also live. While composed around charcoal drawings on canvas, her vision boards also often contain materials such as ballerina cake toppers, foam flowers, fabric butterflies, gems, and unicorn magnets sourced from Los Angeles's craft district. These vision boards then get programmed through metadata, search engine optimization, and other methods of eCommerce to usurp existing reality for a hoped-for-future.
Gretchen's work has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, LALA Magazine, FAD, artnet News, Dazed, Hyperallergic, Artillery, and The Financial Times.
Ocula | 2020
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