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Kyle Trowbridge: Pleasure Seekers

KyleTrowbridge, David, 2010, mixed media, 55” x 21.5” x 17.5”.

KyleTrowbridge, David, 2010, mixed media, 55” x 21.5” x 17.5”.

Dorsch Gallery - Miami

By Bryan Barcena

The rise of Internet socialization has entrenched our generation in the most significant sexual and interpersonal revolution since that of the 1960s. The current generation is the first that has gained the ability to establish and arguably experience the de-personification and increased ephemerality of intimate relationships. The Internet revolution ushered in a new kind of sexuality whereby the presence of sex and the erotic within our daily experience is at once both instantly available and infinitely malleable to desire. We are provided a terminal with which to access not only a staggering well of pornography and voyeurism but to establish intra-personal relationships, sexual or not, through what is at a very base level the exchange of data. To apply a term commonly used in contemporary art, the “new medium” of sexuality is one that is incredibly fluid and has no conception of emotional or physical distance when reincarnating the human body through the digital.

Kyle Trowbridge is in the process of exploring what is known as the uncanny valley, the ever-closing distance between what is created to represent reality and the reality of the human experience. The Miami native has an interest in dissecting this new kind of individualized yet interconnected world in order to reassemble the parts to more clearly expose its own process. What the artist seems to be after is the raw material on which these connections are established, both in terms of the languages that have been created to foster relations and in the visceral reactions that we experience when connections are made. We can see this strategy come to fruition when we delve into the concepts behind pieces such as Rock That Ass, wherein Trowbridge has bound 20 printed books containing the raw coding data of a pornographic film. When initially presented with the books, encased in a white custom enclosure, a viewer might see the work as innocuous and sterile; however, once let in on the secret, which really only a computer could decipher, the graphic scenes that these cryptic symbols represent immediately jump into mind.

KyleTrowbridge, Fool's Gold, 2010, mixed media, 18.5” x 48.25” x 11.5”. Courtesy of the artist and Dorsch Gallery.

KyleTrowbridge, Fool's Gold, 2010, mixed media, 18.5” x 48.25” x 11.5”. Courtesy of the artist and Dorsch Gallery.

There is a duality within Trowbridge’s pieces; the works he creates could almost be considered educational tools with which to reference a greater shifting social paradox, yet the rift between what we perceive with our eyes and what the work eludes to benefits the work in highlighting the real distance between reality and the digital. Another work that showcases this disparity is Fool’s Gold, a small sculptural piece mainly comprised of a stack of compact discs that, when viewed from the side, reveals the silhouette of a nude woman posing through the transparent discs. The opening in the discs serves as a peephole; when the viewer peers through, they are confronted with a small burlesque doll which peers back at the viewer. Knowing that the discs contain the data of pornographic films, coupled with the surprise of the close gaze of the miniature girl, lends the piece a sort of intimate and almost unsettling nature. Trowbridge wants us as viewers to feel unnerved at times, but more so it is the familiarity with the subject matter that drives the work; the female body and sexuality are not alien but are made so by the translation through the “new media.” Trowbridge’s work is not attempting to highlight the negative aspects of this recontextualization; rather he is breaking it apart at the seams so we can better understand what almost seems too natural a part of our newfound sexual identities.

(February 13 - March 6, 2010)

Bryan Barcena is an independent art critic, writer and curator based in Miami, Florida.

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