Soft Focus, Truck Contemporary west window gallery installation detail

Soft Focus is an ongoing series of images I encounter in the fluid surface of my iPhone. Using screenshots I captures the blurry, unresolved images that emerge, when wifi is unstable. I refer to these images as "time lags".

This series explores how our phones have become such an intimate part of our lives. Our phones are a source of connectivity but also anxiety and isolation. Time lags are unintended glitches pulling the user out of a scrolling trance and into the present moment. Visually, time lags range from semi-abstract colourfields and atmospheric landscapes to partially-blurred scenes of people and places, seemingly frozen in a state of becoming. I consider these images a form of digital alchemy with the potential to reveal aspects of our internal landscape, evoking feelings of otherworldliness, impermanence, and dislocation in an environment that is increasingly shaped by technology. 

Soft Focus, Truck Contemporary west window gallery installation detail

Soft Focus (IMG_0176)

Selfie (IMG_1624)

Selfie (IMG_1473)

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Soft Focus
Truck Contemporary | City of Calgary’s Open Spaces Gallery, Calgary, AB
April 18–June 5, 2019

Christina Parker Gallery, St. John's NL
November 8–30, 2019

Smokestack Gallery, Hamilton, ON
June 1 – July 12, 2020

Documentation by Chelsea Yang-Smith

“Failed”, frozen, or partially-rendered images create blurry, digital mirages of people, places, and moments. Images that have not fully resolved or loaded—and relate to frustration and impatience with technology—gel into beautiful, contemplative washes of colour, sometimes with traces of intentioned content. Soft Focus brings together large-scale printed works of nearly-captured moments from the artist’s iPhone—a collection of images as loosely formed thoughts—which prompt us to pause and consider our phones as fickle collaborators in autobiography, photography, and portraiture.

Using Format