Dodge & Burn: P. Seth Thompson

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P. Seth Thompson, 1.K is for Kim, 2012, archival pigment print, 32 x 40 inches, courtesy the artist.
P. Seth Thompson, K is for Kim, 2012, archival pigment print, 32 x 40 inches, courtesy the artist.

P. Seth Thompson is intrigued by current media culture. By recycling found digital media content, Thompson constructs thought-provoking images, especially insofar as their presentation punctuates a critical reflexivity.  The colorful compositions have a deceptive visual innocence.  Underneath the mesmerizing, minimal, virtual-LCD-aesthetic, Thompson is carefully mining personally impactful source material to generate new queries and conclusions about the effect of images.  In his own words, his work “is constructed by blending original and appropriated digital imagery to reveal a new, somewhat alien aesthetic.”
Thompson is not alone in his choice of medium and delivery, but his pieces have conversely unique sentimental and sardonic delivery. They are reminiscent of the visual complexity present in Jason Salavon’s ‘averaging’ works, which combine multiple images of a single subject to elucidate emerging, subtly dominant forms, exhibited in in THE NEW PHOTOGRAPH at Hagedorn Foundation Gallery in 2011.  Atlanta artist, Clovice Holt, has also used Kardashian’s likeness and reputation in a series of blended portraits, made from digitally manipulated negatives. Thompson, however, is educating viewers on his own experience of images imprinted in his memory.  When discussing his influences and source material, he said “they range from quantum physics, to cinema, to mythology…I consider the image’s role in the creation of selfhood within the collective imaginary.”
In Thompson’s treatment of Kardashian’s image, K is for Kim, the work’s intentionality is elucidated through the caption and title more than the visual manifestation.  He says of this piece:

Christian Siriano on view at SCAD FASH in Atlanta through October 9

“Kim Kardashian is brainwashing us into buying into the notion that the image shows truth but it never does—I used a screenshot from the Google images page and manipulated it to look like an alphabet, each quadrant composed of Kardashian’s image.” 

Thompson’s work reveals, in part, the ways that images are digested and reprocessed, while also reiterating that images pierce and stay with us.   “The world is saturated with images. We are powerless against them.  I co-opt and challenge the images to underscore our complicity in the suspension of belief in the digital era.”

P. Seth Thompson, Neils Bohr Through the Looking Glass, 2012, archival pigment print, 40 x 32 inches, courtesy the artist.

P. Seth Thompson, The Ascension of Edmund Hillary at 29, 029 feet, 2012, archival pigment print, courtesy the artist.

P. Seth Thompson, I Am You, You Are Me, 2012, archival pigment print, courtesy the artist.

P. Seth Thompson has an upcoming show at {Poem 88} this October that will include some of the works from this post. Thompson graduated in 2005 from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Video.  Continuing in his education, he graduated in 2011 from SCAD Atlanta with a Master of Fine Arts in Photography.  Since 2011, Seth has been working as Curatorial Assistant in the department of Modern & Contemporary Art at the High Museum of Art where he has assisted on a wide range of solo and thematic exhibitions.  Thompson’s work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions locally, regionally, and throughout the east coast.    

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