At a school where networking is a priority, Richelle Gribble addresses the concept of various networks in her upcoming solo exhibition CONNECTED at the Helen Lindhurst Gallery at Watt Hall that opened Monday and runs through Nov. 7.
Gribble is no stranger to the art world. As a senior fine arts major in the Roski School of Fine Arts, she has already had two exhibits at USC: Parts per Million and Neuron to Networked Society. This past year at the TEDxTrousdale event, she gave a presentation about art in relation to our role in a networked society.
The idea for Gribble’s upcoming exhibition, CONNECTED, began in her freshman year at USC. Originally from the small town of Idyllwild, Calif. in the San Jacinto Mountains, Gribble said moving to Los Angeles was a huge change. She immediately responded by making art about groupings in relation to various objects and people found in Los Angeles. This idea manifested in different ways through her years at USC, finally taking shape as a comprehensive exhibit that encapsulates her diverse interests in fields such as neuroscience, biology, anthropology and human networking.
In CONNECTED, attendees will witness and become a part of these frameworks of connection, large and small.
One of her most recent projects, “Networked Life: 365,” is the largest piece in the exhibition. This piece is a compilation of 365 different 6-inch by 6-inch squares made each day of the year, beginning Oct. 3, 2012 and ending Oct. 3, 2013.
“Each day, I made an image that related to an experience, event, idea, word or image of a network that correlated to my daily experience,” Gribble said.
Gribble used her own Facebook page to promote her artwork every day of the “Networked Life: 365” project.
“My Facebook followers sent me content (ideas, articles, images or words) that related to networks so they could influence my artwork for that daily post,” Gribble said. She tracked participation and interactions on social media such as liking or sharing a post on Facebook.
“I tracked the interactions of each image as well as received viewer participation online. This process served as a way for me to interact with the Internet, one of the largest networks today, and my own social network to elaborate and enrich ideas of network systems,” Gribble said.
Her Facebook network played a large part in her networks of art. Yet, the networks do not cease once the exhibit is put up.
During the exhibition, attendees will be able to become a part of the artwork. Those who walk through the gallery can move around the pieces of “Networked Life: 365” — each square is framed by Plexiglass and attached to the wall by Velcro. Additionally, the gallery will have three computers on which attendees can build their own connections of these squares electronically, screenshot the artwork and compare connections to different users.
“Everything is tracked in such a way that infinite relationships between separate components start to collide into one body, one form,” Gribble said.
In CONNECTED, Gribble’s artwork is a perspectival portrait. In her TED talk, Gribble said, “Networks give us a sense of perspective.” It reaches the smallest and largest levels of connectedness in cells, nebulas and everything in between. The awareness and presence of connections that come out of her art highlights this enrichment through the expansion of social media, cyberspace and space itself.
“This series is a portrait of a networked society — exploring concepts of virality, group dynamics and social trends that connect us all,” Gribble said.
The series includes the 365-day project, four oil paintings, a wire sculpture, three large-scale etchings and a large-scale drawing of overlapping ecosystems. Each draws on interconnectivity and interdependence, constantly in dialogue with biological systems, anthropology and neuroscience.
In the exhibition, Gribble poses a question: What does it mean to be connected? If humans are so interlaced and interconnected, could the idea of the individual be lost?
In a recent interview Gribble noted, “With almost every piece of art, I was forced to work at such small-scale detail that I could not see the final work until the very end.”
In “Networked Life: 365,” the artwork came together by tracking each individual day throughout the year. The final result will not be finished until the end of the exhibition. In her large-scale drawing, “Social Unit,” Gribble depicts five different superorganisms (ants, bees, humans, naked mole rats and termites), drawn from a continuous line. She focused on each animal in order to show how thousands of organisms can be connected as a whole.
By the end, Gribble began to realize that everything is one; and one is everything. Therefore, our networks extend far from one’s own reach or understanding, but individuals still play crucial roles in forming the complete organisms or networks.
Gribble’s work recently won a competition as a top-10 finalist out of 30,000 participants called Art Takes Times Square. Her artwork has also been featured in different exhibitions around Southern California, such as the Palos Verdes Art Center and Superhighway.
The “CONNECTED” exhibit at the Helen Lindhurst Fine Arts Gallery opened Monday and runs until Nov. 7. The opening reception will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 29, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.