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Some visitors, Mitchell says, have seen in the piece a gesture toward the "synthetic communication that we're getting these days." She notes that as she constructed the exhibition, her own online dating shifted to a process of "research and documentation." By entwining her art practice and her romantic life, Mitchell has created a space for herself and others to consider the gender roles, rituals and vulnerabilities, new and old, that have emerged on the digital dating frontier. It's hard to say, but Mitchell offers this: "Love in the digital age is very difficult." Rachel is an arts staff writer at Seven Days.She writes from the intersections of art, visual culture and anthropology, and has contributed to The New Inquiry, The LA Review of Books and Artforum, among other publications.For the photographs, Mitchell used fishnet stockings, a no-frills blue dress and a pair of aptly named Public Desire clear plastic boots (aka glass slippers) as props.In some photos, she places herself in an ambiguous, attic-like space, confined like the Cinder girl.
The nuances of online dating in a rural area shine through in "Photo Friendly," a series of framed images gleaned from user profiles and screenshots from singles platforms Tinder and Ok Cupid.Now, you may think that having a face like Ryan Gosling and a bank account like Mark Zuckerberg is the best way to attract women online, but the truth is that even those guys would strike out with a crappy online dating profile.Zoosk studied a sample of around 4000 of their subscribers to understand the most effective ways to set up a profile and send messages, and they recently published their findings.Mitchell writes in her exhibition text: "In this case, the real Prince Charming can be perceived as the artist herself, creating an internal dialog of what it means to be desired and finding love within her own mind and creative meanderings." As a viewer takes in the "Prince Charming" series, the 15-foot-wide projection "Photobooth Façade" plays on a loop on the gallery's blank wall.Hundreds of Mitchell's computer selfies fly by, from sultry, red-lipsticked poses to full-on goofball faces.
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Humor is a crucial element of the exhibition, balancing a sense of frustration with a healthy appreciation for the absurd.