Rook & Raven's latest expo looks at how identity evolves in a digital era through Gentry's face-painted floppy disks
Nick Gentry’s unique pieces combine his fascination with human faces with the constant progression of humankind. As identity evolves in the digital age, and society is constantly discarding, recycling, and moving forward, Gentry’s portraits are set on a canvas of floppy disks; a canvas which unites subject and medium. With a forthcoming exhibition in London, Gentry chats to Dazed about alternative media...
Faces have always held a certain fascination to me. It is something inside each of us, but we also show this face to the world
Dazed Digital: What interests you about ‘alternative media’?
Nick Gentry: The use of discarded objects allows me to build historical substance into the fabric of the work. I'm using records of people's lives to create a new identity. I like the idea that these personal memories and special moments can somehow be preserved. My portraiture is different to the traditional way of working, in that the choice of media forms the subject of each piece.
DD: Is the idea of technologies becoming obsolete something which should be brought to attention?
Nick Gentry: It's amazing how humankind is forever 'progressing', yet we rarely find time to look back at things that were once considered important. Part of what defines a human is this unique and relentless drive to create. In the face of consumerism it now feels as if there might be a movement happening in the reuse of old objects. People are up-cycling and repurposing and it feels good to be a part of that inspiration for change.
DD: What did you decide on first: portraiture or floppy disks as a medium?
Nick Gentry: Faces have always held a certain fascination to me. It is something inside each of us, but we also show this face to the world. Of course identities have now also extended into the digital realm, so we are living in this situation where people are expressing themselves in lots of different situations. We are now recording our lives digitally. The floppy disk represents the starting point for that and fits with that idea of a composite digital identity.
DD: How do you hope to develop your style?
Nick Gentry: The way that I work relies on social participation and contribution of materials. I'm also starting to experiment with different materials, using film negatives and x-rays. This has led to some explorations in using light and shadow to create tone.
The ‘Interface’ exhibition, featuring Gentry’s latest work, will run from 5th July to 3rd August at Rook and Raven Gallery