About the Artwork
The series Virtually Fragile by Josh Rowell, takes its inspiration from images of broken screens in order to paint digital landscapes of complex colour and form, simultaneously geometric and spontaneous in their composition. Josh has launched this NFT in occasion of the duo show Breaking Boundaries with Nasser Al Salem at Firetti Contemporary.
Working from found images of a variety of broken devices, Rowell highlights the fact that the digital world, despite its seemingly limitless potential, is not yet immortal. Like all things, our personal relationship with the virtual realm is temporal; as we enter into the digital world through our screens, the gateway through which we travel can just as soon be taken away from us with one false move, one simple drop of our cell phone. Ultimately, we can understand here that the digital world is still answerable to the physical world.
The function of the screen in contemporary society lends itself naturally to Rowell’s work. Screens represent the border between our natural, tangible and potentially limited reality, and the intangible yet expansive realm of the virtual. Through painting broken screens he takes away from the common conception of ‘digital perfection’, and instead creates a dialogue that is arguably more accurate, or ‘real’, than the falsehood of flawlessness. In this sense the Virtually Fragile series can be understood as hyperreal, both on a conceptual and aesthetic level.
The series’ title is inspired by the position we find ourselves in, although we invest more and more of our time and energy in our internet selves, we are never far away from losing it all, hence the ‘fragility’ of the situation, running in parallel to the fragility of the devices themselves.
View the NFT
Born in 1990 in Kent, England, Josh Rowell graduated from Kingston Art School in 2013, where he received a first class BFA with honours. Following a course in Art Criticism at Central Saint Martins college, Rowell returned to Kingston Art School for an MFA in 2015, where he was awarded a first- class distinction.
Rowell generates his artistic vision by focusing on technological advances that shape our contemporary lives, communicating our increasingly mediated human interactions within the confines of visual art. The artist balances analogue techniques with the instantaneous nature of the digital age. This juxtaposition produces a language that explores and reshapes information, and celebrates the hand-made in a time that is increasingly being enveloped by the virtual.
Since his emergence as an abstract painter, Rowell has expanded to sculpture, mixed media, and often times works with light, video, and sound installations. Despite these disparate media, everything is underpinned by a coding system, “everything can be reduced to a molecular binarism where all systems can be simplified to yes/no decisions,” the artist explains.
Read full biography here
View CV here