Her canvases here use text, colour and form to convey data sets pertaining to both body builders; Jay ‘Cuts’, Phil ‘The Gift’ and Frank ‘The Chemist’, and domestic terrorists in the US; Burt, Dibee, and Kerkow. There is an inherent frustration in her representation of these individuals and our ability to ‘read’ them through the medium of her paintings.
Suzanne McClelland’s paintings are born of this time, bringing the tradition of abstract painting to bear upon this universe of data and code. “Much like the lives we lead now on the Internet... everything is text-based – the primary connection to our activity is maintained through data.”
The surface of the work shifts and shimmers, language systems break down, just as data will inevitably fall prey to ‘bit rot’; a spontaneous decay. In the case of the terrorists, their very stories are evasive and inconclusive.
We live in an age of planetary scale computation. Data sets created through complex algorithms paint a total picture of the globe, its complex systems of
economics, warfare, and mundane details such as the toothpaste we choose.
Catherine Kerkow was involved in a Black Panther hijacking of a plane in San Francisco with a supposed bomb in her suitcase. She flew to Algeria after releasing the hostages and has never been arrested. Leo Burt set a bomb off at the University of Michigan, killing one and injuring many in the explosion and resulting fire. Again, he remains at large.