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Misunderstanding

Elaborate pencil drawings from Frank Selby explore media failures

by James Thorne in Culture on 08 January 2013

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Currently installed at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the aptly titled "Misunderstanding" is an exhibition featuring the astonishing work of Frank Selby. The drawings on paper show scenes of societal unrest sourced mainly from press photography, the original images of which Selby has manipulated by warping, blurring and layering for enhanced effect. A skilled technician of photorealism, Selby is also a keen critic of media and communication breakdown.

The knowledge that in-the-moment photography informs each scene makes for a uncanny effect on the viewer, as we are also aware of Selby's own hand. This estrangement—from the original act to negative, photograph and eventually pencil sketch—furthers the artist's claim that the ideas are never fully captured in our representations of them. In our rush to capture ideas in visual terms, scenes without inherent meaning are made into icons for mass consumption—a process that highlights the essential failings of communication. frank-selby-3.jpg

"Misunderstanding" runs at SECCA through 10 February 2013. In conjunction with the show, SECCA has produced a catalogue alongside the show and will be selling it from their website for $20.

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