The large-scale oil paintings of Los Angeles-based artist Justin Bower present a series of unconventional portraits of the modern human head. The painter’s work features a visual clashing of figurative art and abstraction. Bower offers just enough of each technique to blur the line not only between the two but to also create a dialogue about the modern man’s immersive connectivity to technology and obsession with altering their physical image.
Using just a basic, anonymous human face, Bower transforms the image of “self” into something more inorganic to reflect society’s shift into an obsessive, tech-reliant culture. The artist produces these glitchy, digitized, dissected, and fragmented portraits to echo the symbolic identity of a person who has undergone a contemporary makeover. The faces are digitized in an effort to reference the virtual identities people have created on social media networks like Facebook.
Additionally, facial features, though recognized, are abstracted in their duplication–two pairs of eyes, noses, mouths. The distortion of flesh is a common theme in Bower’s work. In a statement for his art reads: “He conflates the function of skin and flesh as a boundary between biological interiority and externalized technologies.”