(noun) nonchalant absurdity with a dash of embarrassment.

(verb) to be shark bitten.

(adverb) in a manner that is nonchalantly absurd and embarrassing.

10 January 2014


As a child, we weren’t allowed to order Pay-Per-View. It was incredibly expensive my mother would say, but, at times, if you turned on the channel, you could see, if only for a second, part of your favorite movie that was just recently released from theaters. Kind of like teenagers trying to watch Playboy before the Internet––if they turned the channel on at just the right time, and they were lucky, they’d see a boob or two.

In the post-digital age of art, glitch is a recognizable term, it’s some sort of transient fault. We hear it in music, we see it in video intentionally, we even see it in an accidental iPhone photo that smears the subject because we’ve moved our hands too quickly. Impressionism itself can be considered the OG glitch. Monet’s Water Lillies is a beautiful blur of reality: to quote Clueless aptly, “From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.” I hardly think Monet’s work is a mess, but because we are so immersed in electronics, day in and day out, glitch can take on a new meaning, serving as a metaphor for the digital or emotional malfunctions of everyday life. Your Facebook isn’t loading on your digital device? Your call was dropped? Not enough money to pay your phone bill? Website you’re viewing doesn’t have a mobile version? Frustration ensues. Freeze this moment, turn it into a painting, step back, dive-in, reflect, reset. Unless you’re living under a rock or have sworn off electronics, mostly everyone who has access to this article can relate. These so-called glitches go hand-in-hand with the expressive and intrinsic qualities of life in the post-digital age and elements of these sentiments is what one finds in Miguel Ovalle’s latest show Encryption at ArtNowNY in Chelsea.

Encryption features an immersive body of work in various media. The diced up, glitched paintings are digitally influenced, taking on a nonfixed form. Composed of individual strips, Glitch I can be arranged differently each time it is installed (similar to the early work of El Anatsui), reflecting a dynamism in its digital and painterly quality. For the glitch series, the subject is no longer the only or most important message, blurred in their abstraction, the ever changing makeup of the pieces holds equal value. The ability to constantly rotate the media is inspired by the visual information overload we experience on the daily: we have countless choices of what it is we are viewing and why, and for this, we can thank our best friend, the Internet.

While everyone was down in Art Basel partying at some alcohol or sparkling water brand sponsored event, which I chose to watch from the likes of Instagram this year, Miguel Ovalle hosted Glitterati, an in situ installation/ photo shoot/ art happening at his studio with gold mylar covered walls, festive and sequined attire, and cheap champagne. You’ll find the product of all of this in the smaller back room of the gallery, the neatly lined metallic photographs mounted upon crisp white walls. The nondescript figurative subject matter invites the viewer to be part of the event and protects the identity of those who attended. The undulating lines and digital flaws found in the photos are a direct reflection of what the camera recorded as the installation provided a rich environment for lucid imagery.

Between the blue lights that line the floor of the back wall and Relic of My Subconscious, the typographic sculptural installation, floats Elevation, the sarcophagus like sculpture of a woman draped in black sequins, which lends to the subject matter of the photos in the next room. Also lying throughout the gallery are two additional figures: Silver Dreams, a woman, classically serene, lying on her side, in an s-shaped curve with silver sequins and Heavy Weight, a gold sequined man, knee up, hands covering his face, eerily reminiscent of the cast figures of Pompeii. Realistic, creepy, beautiful? You choose.

A master of foam core, Ovalle’s precise lines, shiny photos, figurative sculptures, and innovative paintings make for a well curated, clean and provocative exhibition. Put on a warm coat and make your way to Chelsea to see Encryption. The show runs until February 1, 2014.

See more of Miguel’s work: www.dizmology.com / Instagram: @dizmology

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