Tabitha Soren’s Surface Tension intervenes into the cool, disembodied, transactional relationships we conduct with our digital devices—and meddles with the “neutrality” of the information we receive through them. Her subjects are united by a focus on touch, reinstating the haptic as an essential aspect of humanity, and the images carry a charge that is at once familiar and uncanny. Soren shoots iPad screens with an 8 x 10 view camera under raking light to reveal the grime we leave behind—the fingerprints and greasy smears of our embodied selves, so seemingly at odds with the chilly detachment and objectivity of the information that flows towards us, unrelentingly. The photographs are titled simply as urls, bringing viewers back to the “original” of the image while signaling both instantaneity and mediation. Soren’s pictures are rendered with painterly detail, luscious and beautiful, by virtue of the surface mess posed in contrast to the discernible subjects that emerge below. The project is simple, suggestive, and transformational. It not only considers “how people consume, manipulate, dismiss, cherish, interact with image-driven content online—and the relentless layering that accompanies this experience,” but insists that we pause to reconsider too.
Tabitha Soren (b.1967 San Antonio, Texas) is a former Peabody Award-winning journalist for MTV and NBC news. Her photographs are held in many private and public collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the George Eastman Museum of Photography, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, and San Francisco’s Pier 24. Soren lives and works in the Bay Area.
Curated by Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ‘37 Director of the Davis, the exhibition is generously supported by Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis, the Alice Gertrude Spink Art Fund (1963), and the Anonymous '70 Endowed Davis Museum Program Fund.