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The Sacred Screen
Parker DayCourtesy The Sacred Screen

These artworks ask you to choose between IRL and URL

Through parody and introspection, seven artists dissect the parallel universe that the internet provides

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate the reality of our own lives with the one we inhabit online. Do we live more wholly in cyberspace or in the flesh? This is a question that The Sacred Screen aims to explore through the work of seven artists, Corie Denby McGowan, Col Self, Bex Ilsley, Parker Day, Bob Bicknell-Knight, Christina Poku and Gala Bell. Via various mediums, such as photography and digital art, each artist confronts the fetishisation of the online world via parody and introspection – a place that, at times, borders on frightening.

Exploring ourselves online is nothing new – ever since Jennifer Ringley, known as the world’s first “lifecaster”, kept us updated with static shots direct from her webcam from 1996 to 2003 on the website JenniCam – however, the way we construct our realities are increasingly easier to exploit and manipulate. Photographer Parker Day, who has a reputation for shooting “the weirdest and wildest characters of LA’s art scene”, captures hyperreal portraits that blur between caricature and character. Whereas artist and the show’s co-curator, Corie Denby McGowan, uses green screen technology and animation to create “a visual feast of sumptuous, seductive and psychedelic imagery” that feel like deep explorations into digital space. Rather than working with digital practices, instead Gala Bell’s work mimics them; she eschews paint for synthetic materials with a Photoshop-feel, such as “gel, latex, faux fur, eyelashes, nails, toys, trash and processed food”. She explains, “Your sense of revulsion comes from the artificiality of them, similar to the aversion we have to virtual reality – a discomfort and fear.”

Opening 12 January, The Sacred Screen questions whether we prefer the sacred screen or what’s outside of it.

The Sacred Screen is co-curated by gallery founder Morgane Wagner and artist Corie Denby McGowan. It opens 12 – 19 January at London’s Square Gallery