Continuing her analysis of the current climate, Evie O'Connor presents a new series of paintings that delve deeper into the exploration of wealth, privilege and class through the documentation of an obscene land. These new works question a relentless form of wealth, where wonder, envy and discomfort can be felt simultaneously, and dystopia is almost sensual.
Solely working from images found through social media and search engines, O'Connor reinforces the inaccessibility of these spaces and the alienation most people feel from their mere existence. By collating imagery from speci?cally-researched locations, the artist presents us with scenes that teeter on the edge of surreal. While a privileged few get to experience the riches of these spaces in real life, the majority will only ever engage with them virtually through the content of others. The sporadic nature of these images mimic the feed of social media: each work possesses a recognisable form of content repurposed by the artist, displaying the familiar notions of aspiration and emptiness.
Using a heightened palette of saturated pigments on a gem-like scale, the paintings physically summon the viewer but hold them at arms length. The absence of life in these works speak to the isolation created by wealth, and a disconnect from the world beyond its gates. The locations admired for their grandeur and prestige are devoid of life, their vacancy almost deafening. The static pools, abandoned golf carts, and untouched meals provided by room service, all form set pieces that imply distance and wastefulness. The untouched cocktail overlooking a city places the viewer in the position of guest for a moment, rather than disconnected onlooker.
Hyperreality questions how wealth allows you to accrue more reality through unstoppable access. The paintings highlight lands where money eclipses morality, where luxury isn't enough, and outspending one's rival is a competitive sport. The paintings present a visual catalogue of wealth that shows no signs of retreating, but becomes ever more disconnected from the lives of its outsiders.
Text by Ethan O'Connor