Book of the Week: “Obsolete”

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Obsolete, a newly-published book by London artist Nick Gentry, reminds us of the fleeting nature of technology while highlighting the ways in which creative inspiration can be found in even the most mundane, everyday objects.

Beginning with a pile of 3.5-inch floppy diskettes (remember those?), cassette tapes and other abandoned media, Gentry creates grids that serve as the basis for painted portraits, burying the original data forever while making new statements.

What is it exactly that makes these paintings so compelling? Is it the way the diskettes’ original metal spindles become the shining eyes of Gentry’s subjects? Is it the enigmatic text that peeks through the spaces from the original handwritten labels, or the surprise of seeing a previous generation’s waste turned into today’s art? Maybe it’s all of that, along with the underlying, uncomfortable suggestion that we are defined by our technology — and we all know what eventually happens to that.

You can learn more about Nick Gentry and his art at www.nickgentry.co.uk

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