‘FEED’ brings together a body of work created by Zara Worth since 2016. Concerned with our relationships with hand-held technology and social media, Worth’s practice has been described by curator Tyler Robarge as ‘swipe-specific’: using online culture and technology as subject and medium for artworks with on- and offline lives. Throughout the exhibition materials and methods of creative production point to themes of value, presence and self-image in the social media age. Materials such as rice paper, 23.5 carat gold, void fill, celery, and artificial roses, have symbolic and cultural value and thereby provide metaphors through which to read online culture.

The exhibition’s title alludes to Worth’s love of wordplay and exploitation of ambiguity. ‘FEED’ variously refers to social media newsfeeds, literal and metaphorical consumption and the expression ‘feeding the beast’ – used by professional vloggers and bloggers to describe the pressures of online content production and the voracity of online platforms. Likewise, the title of the Instagram collage series ‘Wellness’ (2017) is a purposeful misinterpretation of a term associated with Instagram lifestyle trends. Originally shared on Instagram during January (a month synonymous with post-Christmas dieting), ‘Wellness’ appropriates images and hashtags from the platform that it critiques, playing a disassociation game between each hashtag and image, taking the viewer down into the ‘Insta-archive’ rabbit hole along a hashtag wordsnake.

References to online food and lifestyle trends such as clean eating and wellness, feature alongside references to the legacy of conceptual and performance art. Worth’s performance to video for the Instagram piece, ‘Economics of the Kitchen (an A to Z)’ (2018) echoes Martha Rosler’s seminal performance to video work from 1975, ‘Semiotics of the Kitchen’; reimagining Rosler’s work for the age of Web2.0 and #foodporn. Similarly, ‘The Artist’s Presence’ (2018), (Worth’s first Augmented Reality artwork, made with support from Ian Truelove and Field Design), explicitly references Marina Abramović’s performance ‘The Artist is Present’ (2010) in order to question notions of ‘presence’ in the digital age.

Zara Worth was born in Harrogate in 1990 and lives and works between Gateshead, Leeds and London. She received a BA (Hons) Fine Art from Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Woon Art Prize the same year. In 2014 she received a scholarship to complete an MA in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths, London. Recent exhibitions include ‘AVBody’, Judaica Project at the University of Huddersfield, ‘Smile (for Harold)’, made for Harold Offeh’s installation for ‘MATERIAL ENVIRONMENTS’, The Tetley, Leeds, Gallery Tally at ‘Fair’ art fair, Miami, USA, ‘Four Words’, Leeds Tech Hub, Leeds (2018), Gallery Tally in ‘Starless Midnight’, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, ‘#HADADi’, Helix Arts, Newcastle upon Tyne; ‘Dialogus’, Vane, Newcastle upon Tyne, ‘Summer Screening’, H Space, Cleveland, USA, ‘Roots and Wings’, The House of Blah Blah, Middlesbrough, ‘inhabit’, IOUAE, online project (2017), ‘Tender Bodies’, Praxis Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne (2016), ‘Transmetic Ordonnance’, Lewisham Art House, London (2015), ‘Draw In’, St Margaret’s House, Edinburgh, and ‘Eulogy’, Vane, Newcastle upon Tyne (2014). Worth was shortlisted for the DepARTure Foundation Art Prize in 2012 and commissioned by Helix Arts in 2017 to produce new works also featured in this exhibition.

Events


In conversation: Zara Worth and Professor Dr Beryl Graham

Friday 10 August 2018 6-8pm

Join artist Zara Worth and curator and Professor of New Media Art at Sunderland University, Dr Beryl Graham, for an evening of informal conversation followed by a Q&A around the themes raised in the exhibition.

DisCONTENTed Collage Workshop

Saturday 11 August 12noon-3pm

Drop-in and get creative in this collage workshop led by artist Zara Worth. Cut and paste to create collages inspired by Instagram culture.

Who am I when I’m online?

Saturday 8 September 2-3pm

An opportunity to discuss issues of online identity in more depth during an informal seminar style event. The event will start with a brief exhibition tour led by the artist, followed by a group discussion on the challenges social media poses to society today.