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Past Project Exposures: Travis K. Schwab: Lost and Found

September 16–November 22, 2015

A grayscale rendering of a person with chin-length hair and wearing glasses turning their face away from the viewer.

For the fall Exposures installation, Travis K. Schwab focuses on Andy Warhol’s enduring place in our visual culture. Schwab—a self-taught painter who has spent the past five years building a body of work that takes issue with our image-saturated culture—takes inspiration for this project from Warhol’s investment in photography, which Warhol published in his 1978 book Exposures, and the forgotten photobooth strips that museum visitors leave behind.

For this installation, Schwab completed three new paintings, large portraits of Warhol, which hang in the center of each street-facing store window. Flanked by a variety of smaller canvases painted from the lost photobooth strips, the installation replicates the image-cluttered formats that have become the new normal of our visual culture. Accompanying the paintings in the window displays are books, such as The Diaries of Andy Warhol (1989) and The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to Be and Back Again) (1975), currently featured in the exhibition Warhol By the Book, on view through January 10, 2016.

Schwab, born in Wichita, Kansas, graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2005. While drawing came easy to him at a young age, painting with oils was self-taught and is an ongoing experiment. With an aptness for color balance, it is surprising to note that he is colorblind. In his recent work, Schwab has focused on distorted details or fragments from the bountiful supply of photos circulating in the media. Inundated with stock photographs online, snapshots shared via social media, and a constant stream of advertisements on television, our relationship to images is in flux. Schwab plucks his images from this endless supply of photos and fragments found online and in the media. Cropped and painted with a blurred effect, his paintings take on a dreamlike haze that feels both foreign and yet familiar. Actors from movies and friends from social media are distorted and condensed, the cultural boundaries erased. Schwab’s first solo show Scratching the Itch (2015) was presented at Revision Space. Most recently, his work was included in Point Park University’s Screen Memories (2015).

Exposures is curated by Jessica Beck, associate curator of art.