One week: no news, no internet, no social network or texting. “Unplug yourself!” was the request and challenge of ArtsWest Gallery Director Nichole DeMent and co-curator Michele Osgood of Bherd Studios. Participating artists had to unplug from TV, Internet, and text messaging for 1 full week.
Unplugging for me meant....not visiting my mom on Skype, not seeing my far away friends on Facebook, not curling up on the sofa with my family to watch an evening show together. I didn’t make it through the week! I missed all of it.
In the artwork I created, that absence was expressed through an absence of color and organic shape. “Flower, Unplugged” is a gray tone, pixelated version of a colorful floral painting called “Twelve Bar Blues.” Here's the original, and the unplugged version...
The original "Twelve Bar Blues" acrylic on canvas; 24"x36" © 2011
"Flower Unplugged" acrylic on panel; 20"x30" ©2011
I also felt compelled to express my reaction in materials other than paint. Pulling a plug out of it’s socket, I saw the sad little faces on the outlet plate. Okay, so I was projecting a little. In Photoshop, I played with the image until it was just right...
"Unhappy Unplugged" inkjet print; © 2011
Taking a look at the electrical plug, I wondered how it might be used to express my feelings towards the unplugged experience. My solution...
"Permanently Unplugged" electrical cord
Reviewed by Michael Upchurch of the Seattle Times
The Unplugged Challenge shows the various interpretations from the artists’ experiences and unveils intriguing insights on the plight of technology dependency. The result of this isolation experiment can be seen in the Unplugged Challenge in ArtsWest’s gallery from
June 28 – July 24, 2011.