Mercer County Community College (MCCC) will hold its next James Kerney Campus (JKC) photography exhibit entitled “Analog Surrealism,” showcasing the works of Phillip McConnell, November 8 through December 2 at 137 North Broad Street, Trenton, New Jersey. An artist talk will be held on Monday, November 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The public is invited in-person or by appointment via Zoom. Reservations are required and seating is limited.
McConnell is an artist and writer from Trenton who mixes analog photography with digital processes to create work that reflects on the human condition and Phillips’ own personal experiences. “Analog Surrealism” is a juxtaposition series where McConnell merges different surrealistic concepts of glitch art with aspects of analog photography. Glitch art is the anesthetization of digital or analog errors, such as artifacts and other bugs.JKC Gallery Director Michael Chovan-Dalton remarked “We are excited to be premiering the new work of Trenton artist Phillip McConnell in ‘Analog Surrealism’ at JKC Gallery. McConnell’s work is richly layered and thoughtful. His imagery requires contemplation and subtly hints at some of McConnell’s experiences with race, class, and disruptions in his life.” McConnell thinks of his images as a kind of digital alchemy which connects his work to the earliest forms of photography where it was believed that photography had a kind of magical and transformative power. But McConnell’s work does not reside in the idealism of early photography influenced by impressionism and surrealism. His modern version of these ideas are expressions of his life and his experiences. Visually, McConnell’s work can seem jarring and abstract with its contrasting colors and dense overlays, but with some time and immersion in front of these pieces, the glitches and the imagery take on a new unifying quality that allows the viewer to enter these transformational landscapes and contemplate their meaning. McConnell explained the details behind how he goes about creating his art.
“I create this art by either corrupting digital code/data or by physically manipulating electronic devices,” he said. “Analog photography is any type of photography not taken through a digital medium… Think of a roll of film being analog and SD card being digital. Recent years have seen the trend of digital photography engulf this discipline, making analog photography a lost art. The concept of new ideas replacing the old is something that other artists have sought to embody. My objective is to use an old way of creating art and mix it with my own unique style,” he said.To create his works, McConnell converts picture files into text files. Using the text file within the program he manually manipulates the data of the picture by adding or subtracting color codes and by taking pieces of other pictures and blending them with each other. Once the images are distorted he combines them using a notepad program and exports the text file as a JPEG picture file and prints it on galley-wrapped canvas.