Will U BE MY FBF -A Portrait Show About Facebook, Friends, And Identity Theft

As described by curator, Geoffrey Person:

“Who is Roxanne and Why should we care? Pop-surrealist painter and illustrator, Jeff Szuc, posses timely questions regarding online identities and their truthfulness to the subjects who post them in his third exhibition at the O’Connor gallery. His appropriation of the online identity Roxanne (from another individual who may or may not exist), exemplifies the mistruths that pepper social networking websites and the rest of the online world as well. How much greater is the lie of an online identity when it permeates the entire person rather than simply an exaggeration of machismo, intelligence, or popularity? … In his most recent exhibition, will U B My FBF, Jeff Szuc combines the inter-dimensional nature of the Five by Seven Project with the intimacy of the portraits from Animalia. After creating a false identity on Facebook under the name Roxanne, Szuc ‘friended over three-hundred unknown profiles. Over the course of several months he accessed intimate details from subjects whom he had only virtually (and who most probably do not know that Jeff Szuc exists).

Katie Iron Box

Katie Iron Box

The exhibition consists of six contemporary traditional portraits of Roxane’s Facebook friends. In addition, Roxanne contributed three typographic paintings of messages she received to her profile. Finally, Roxane and Jeff Szuc collaborated on a work that combined their figurative and typographic skills. While each painting is a fully developed work, as an exhibition, the works underline the interaction between Szuc and Roxanne.

when R U online

Typographic works by Roxanne

do i no u im txt painting

Typographic works by Roxanne

Instant messaging through online profiles makes the ease of lying a sweet temptation – whether it is adjusting a few physical statistics or creating an entire new personae. Jeff Szuc has appropriated Facebook’s social networking and used the intimacy of portraiture to inform us of this potential.

John Wolf. Collaborative piece by Jeff Szuc and Roxanne

John Wolf. Collaborative piece by Jeff Szuc and Roxanne

portrait painting of cindy hok

Cindy

While Facebook may tell us that Roxane is a girl with 315 friends, this exhibition exposes Roxane as a culture-jamming tool used to highlight the easily manipulated nature of online personae and communication. Society has been impacted by the duel between face-to-face interaction and virtual communication making Jeff Szuc’s works very relevant.

portrait painting of brock bassels

installation: The show featured a kiosk where people were encouraged to use Roxanne's profile, to view the photos of her 'friends', and learn their personal details.

portrait painting of brock bassels

Brock Bassels