The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.
Jen Schwarting's "drunk girls" series explores issues of privacy, agency and authorship through the lens of online image sharing. At the center of her project is a selection of anonymous photographs depicting young women in various states of consciousness, drunk or passed out from drinking. Schwarting finds the photographs via Google Search among hundreds of images that have already been shared across social media platforms. At turns familiar and disturbing, the pictures seem to have been captured initially for personal entertainment. But posted on the web and publicly proliferated, the images exemplify the pervasiveness of online bullying, social shaming and rape culture.
While the appropriated photographs form the crux of the project, the final works unfold in a variety of media as Schwarting collages the printed images into two and three dimensions. A series of tactile, photo-collage paintings on raw burlap dislocates the photographs from their original screen-based context. In two column-like sculptures made of pigment-stained fabric and wood, the constructed materials offer an elevated counterpoint to the embedded, debased pictures, further removing the snapshots from the digital sphere. Conversely, a new series of collaged prints are notably slicker and scaled smaller, referencing and circling back uncomfortably close to a form that is distributable.