Real Lookers at Alfred University!

Sept 15 - Oct 19, 2017

Cohen Gallery, Alfred, NY


Real Lookers presents the work of Brooklyn based artist Desiree Des whose photographic works explore the tension between the image and the surface upon which it rests. Using readily available methods of printing and second hand home decor items, Des creates sculptures and readymades with snapshots of her shifting daily environment. She asks, how does a photograph’s physicality extend meaning, not only in the object itself, but also within real shifting contexts from living rooms and bathrooms, to galleries and public spaces. The images and objects combined in Des's work serve to upend the viewers expectations of a fully legible image or ordinary object. New perspectives are overlaid on functional objects—like plates, picture frames, and toys—through the addition of imagery that refers back to the supporting object. Images of American life are the at the crux of the relationship Des illuminates between looking at daily life and using its implements.

Des often creates socially engaging contexts for her art multiples, awarding them as prizes at public events, mailing them through the post with questionnaires, or selling them at a low cost in retail environments of her own devisement. This ensures that almost any viewer can choose to take something home and experience it on their own terms—even (and especially) if that means the works are placed into contexts beyond the artist’s original intention or control. In this way, Des hopes to encourage conversation about the role of art outside of traditional galleries and underscore how seeing a work over time changes both it and the viewer.

For this show, Des has created a self-service, honor-system, pay-as-you-wish Souvenir Shop where visitors may take home a postcard or poster and “pay” with their own artworks or other monetary and non-monetary offerings. These transactional goods will be displayed on pedestals in the gallery, and contributors are welcome to add the Real Lookers exhibition to their résumé.