Director/Curator of Artspeak
July 6–August 3, 1996
Artspeak Gallery is pleased to present “Misc. People”, the first solo exhibition produced by Vancouver artist Linda Chinfen. Using previous investigations surrounding stereotypes as her departure point Chinfen creates a dialogue between commonly used art supplies and prepackaged computer clip art.
By illustrating the limitations of manufactured goods the artist calls attention to the inherent racist and gendered inequalities present in commonly used art materials and certain computer programs. Using an overt strategy, akin to mass marketing techniques, Chinfen points out the identification coding language used to seduce a particular consuming public.
Individual identity is reduced to computer files such as, Disk 1, Subdirectory: People 1, FACE 18. Skin tones become designer tints, with names like Africano, Orientale and Dresden Flesh. These manufactured art mediums become the vehicle for western constructions of race and gender. Juxtaposing these readymade materials with computer clipart Chinfen reminds us of the cultural constrictions being imposed upon us in supposedly innocuous manners.
These imposed identities are responsible for the classification and perpetuation of stereotyping. Repeated exposure to these commonly used materials and computer programs serves to build another layer of disparity and reinforce the existing categories that prescribe race, class and gender inequality.