Through the glass doors of Guerrero-Projects, you can see the sleek, modern ingenuity of the metal frames and thin, black lines of the plexiglass surfaces scattered across Santiago Pinyol’s newest exhibit, Screaming at the Screen.
The exhibit emerged from the Bogota-based artist’s fascination with a technology-driven society. The art examines now-mundane digital interfaces and our tendency to get sucked into that digital vortex. Pinyol seems to ask: What is it about these surfaces that is so appealing, and what keeps us there?
Throughout, there is the idea of digital frameworks with the metallic grids that reflect and refract the light and universal symbols such as the loading icon, backslash, and “x”. After typing a word into Google, Pinyol created primary index (visual salami) to replicate the pixels in the image that popped up. However, the piece represents more than pixels; the inundation of mismatched rectangles represents the numerous screens that we are bombarded with in our daily lives. Pinyol suggests the digital world is a very unnatural place to exist, and, speaking for myself, the jumbled mass of rectangles before me was pretty overwhelming.
In contrast, my eyes easily gravitate to the vibrant energy of tú, with its bright green color. It is an abstract portrait of someone close to Pinyol, but each of the frames are a piece of the word “tú”—“you” in Spanish. It is an intimate, witty ode to the one he loves and a fun exercise to mentally rearrange the puzzle pieces and uncover the hidden meaning.
Walking through the exhibit, light and reflection play an important role. In most of the pieces, the shadows add another dimension to the physical layers of the actual artwork. Particularly, the clear lines of coming soon (you and me) catch my attention because they create an overlapping shadow effect of dark and light.
My curiosity leads me to peer into the space between the gallery wall and the shiny surface to understand how Pinyol created this effect. However, it is like the alluring surface of my cellphone screen, where the sleek exterior doesn’t give me the slightest clue as to how it operates. I would literally have to dismantle the piece to understand the optical illusion beneath. Otherwise, it will remain a mysterious black box—a great enigma.
While enjoying the Pinyol exhibit, I wonder if my enjoyment is at least partially a result of my addiction to technology. The exhibit incorporates familiar signs and symbols that make me feel at home. Yet, this familiarity causes me to question my own relationship to the digital interfaces that I take for granted in my day-to-day life. Pinyol’s art is a parody of the real screens that we come across, but his work might make you hesitate the next time you reach for your phone.
Thru Oct. 7. Guerrero-Projects, 4411 Montrose Blvd. Suite C. 713-522-0686. More info at guerrero-projects.com.