Selfie became the Oxford Dictionary word of the year in 2013. Today on a campus full of art students and critics alike, the word is explored in an art show by OCAD U students.
Oxford defines selfie as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam.” The infamous duck lips pose flooding your Instagram feeds or the close up shot of the face only, these are all selfies.
The OCAD U exhibit ‘All By Myselfie’ explores the obsessively narcissistic relationship society has with taking selfies. The show delves into the deeper meaning behind the selfie. Organized by OCAD alum Jenna Crooks, the showcase portrays work by Crooks and fellow artists Camille Jodoin, Shelby Jane Miller, Kori Baum, Alexandra Pearlhaddad and Reenee Dykeman.
But if you think you will find tons of portraits or rather selfies on the walls of the stark gallery, think again.
On one wall are three pillows hanging from silver chains, proudly sporting the faces of celebrities such as Beyonce and Demi Lovato. And then on top of those perfectly put together faces is smeared makeup that artist Reenee Dykeman put there herself by sleeping on the pillows.
On what could only be described as a little pillar similar to an altar is the MacBook with a looped lipstick application video. Then down from it a kaleidoscope of colorful quotes about the inner self. The Macbook held a riveting 20-minute long video that was looped showing a girl garishly applying bubble gum pink lip gloss.
“I find it so funny and so disgusting because its just this constant making up of herself…making herself up for this image of herself,” Crooks says about the video.
Jenna Crooks says, “initially with selfies I almost had like a wariness to them, I was like thinking oh this is just sort of expression of vanity or something.” The immediate rejection she felt towards the idea of selfies led to her exploration of them in the show.
Student gallery monitor Meaghan Hunter-Gauthier says, “there has been a pretty good student response to the show.”
Crooks hopes everyone who comes to the show will leave questioning themselves about those front facing camera photos we work so hard to perfect called the selfie. Crooks says, “one of my pieces in the show it very subtlety says validate me baby and that to me is what the selfie initially says, its just people wanting validation.”