Pressure to Perform

If you go out to eat with friends and no one tweets about it, texts about it or posts a photo to Facebook did it happen? We live in a constantly connected world; Facebook updates, tweets and text messages are constantly flying to us and away from us. But what does living in a world under the constant pressure to perform do to the individual and society? A new exhibit at Firehouse Plaza Art Gallery explores this world of constant communication and asks do we experience anything unless it has been documented?

PERORM, a solo exhibition by artist Tirtzah Bassel features large-scale oil paintings that explore a world in which people are increasingly absorbed in virtual communication.

“I was immediately drawn to the pulse of her work,” Lynn Rozzi, Director of the Firehouse Plaza Art Gallery said. “She creates vibrant images of specific moments that so accurately reflect our pop culture.”

But don’t think Bassel’s work is just pop art. Bassel’s work which has been exhibited nationally and internationally is always full of layers focusing the viewer to examine borders whether it be airport security zones, border crossings, public transportation or in PERFORM the border between performer and audience.

“These tensions between anonymity and individuality, between authenticity and performance, are at the center of the exhibition,” Bassel said. “The immersive nature of the installation is an invitation to slow down, and spend a contemplative moment in this space. In a reality where we are increasingly watching and being watched, PERFORM speaks to the necessity of observing anew the audiences and performances that shape our every day.”

PERFORM includes a site-specific installation ‘painted’ in duct tape directly on the gallery walls.

“Although Bassel calls her site responsive pieces paintings, she uses duct tape as the medium,” Rozzi said. “It made me consider the possibility that we may be holding our culture together with technology. Her work is so provocative on so many levels. “

The exhibit runs through Friday, Feb. 27.