The Spectators

Oil on Canvas
4 ft x 5 ft
August, 2018

This painting explores the concept of vulgarity through a portrayal of dog fighting. Through role reversal, it calls out the loss in empathy and desensitization caused by internet and social media. Furthermore, the painting also alludes to controversial news about Guggenheim being forced to take down Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other by Peng Yu and Sun Yuan an artwork that analyzes dynamics of dominance and submission.

The reactions of the dogs in the painting are as avatars of internet commenters: some may encourage this violence, others may be deeply disturbed by it. The humans depicted have lost their humanity and identity under pressure and duress. Internet slang words LOL and WTF juxtaposed over this scene of violence bring an almost absurd black humor to it, subverting the seriousness of the event. These words “erase” parts of the painting, showing an alpha channel underneath. Is it one-dimensional, as layer of pixels in photoshop? Does that even matter?