Artist Nick Gentry goes retro and paints portraits on top of VHS tapes and floppy discs
Some of you will be aware of the concept of video cassette tapes, but you won't share the same fond memories as us (slightly) older folk. This utterly baffles me. That you younger generations will never understand the importance of a bookshelf dedicated entirely to videos, cataloguing beloved movies that were recorded during epic Christmas or Easter schedules.
Enter Nick Gentry. An artist on my wavelength. Someone who is taking something truly nostalgic and using it as a canvas for his paintings. The London-based creative paints portraits on top of obsolete tech materials, such as VHS cassettes and floppy disks that contain people's memories.
In Human Connection, an exhibition at the Opera Gallery later this month, you can see Nick's portraits of women painted onto floppy disks and fragmented CDs. The once iconic and recognisable forms (CDs) are shattered into thousands of tiny fragments. The resin glues the segments together and suspends these pieces in a holographic freeze-frame of time.
Nick uses these obsolete materials to put them back in the spotlight, so we can comprehend how quickly technology is progressing. They're sourced directly from members of the public in a "social art" project. This open working practice is a fundamental starting point for each of his new works and allows for shared histories to become part of a collective identity.
Human Connection at London's Opera Gallery runs from 14 until 28 September 2018.