California based artist Gretchen Andrew, uses the internet to expose the weaknesses of modernity and raise questions of authenticity by, in effect, beating the internet at its own game. By tricking the algorithms of search engines, Andrew propels her work to the top of search lists such as Google and Bing. Her dream-like vision boards and paintings splashed with colour, flowers and hopes of a bright future, transcend the monochromatic world of artificial intelligence and internet algorithms. Referred to as an ‘internet imperialist’ and ‘search engine artist’, Andrew subverts the internet into a platform that embraces her work and goals. From hacking Frieze Los Angeles to feature her work at the top of their search lists, to convincing the internet that her work was featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennale, Andrew’s visions are uniquely expressed through her tech efficiency and artistic message.
Dismantling our perception of search engines and AI, Andrew demonstrates the malleability and weaknesses of the flawed web. But taking control of her reputation through implementing her vision boards alongside top art fairs and biennales is only the start of her disruption of the art world. . With our ‘reality’ increasingly shifting online, her ‘search engine’ work sits on a platform that gives the world easy access to it. Embedding this further, Andrew’s physical work coincides with the keywords that she had matched them to in search engines. Typing the words ‘Powerful person’ and ‘Perfect female body’ into the search bar plunges the web surfer into the realm of feminist activism, and there, sitting at the top of the search engine, is Andrew’s work, embodying the power of female manifestation.
Within her work, Andrew seeks to combine collage and artificial intelligence. In recent years collage has increasingly become a feminist body of work, one which seeks to shift the way in which we view the ‘putting together’ of images. In her journal article Beyond Fragmentation, Gwen Raaberg emphasises how feminist collage can ‘re-collect artworks and activities already fragmented and abandoned by the dominant culture’ and instead ‘construct a sense of continuity by relating them to contemporary artistic activities’. Andrew’s work does this not only through the relevant images that she places together in her vibrant collages, but also through the disruption of arguably the most dominant of all cultures in the 21st century, – the internet. By implementing her ideas and dreams into the web, she is able to subvert her narrative to empower herself and the feminist message of her work.
Andrew’s collaboration of collage and artificial intelligence also demonstrates her ability to utilise a system that does not always champion the underdog. Placing her work in tandem with major art events such as the Turner Prize and Whitney Biennale, she can surpass the infamous exclusivity of these events. By creating her reality through manipulation of the internet, Andrew’s work has an relentless millenial force and an innate feminist ambition/voice.
Andrew’s latest projects for Gazell.io will utilise her optimisation skills and bring her work to new – albeit virtual – heights. ‘The Next American President’ and ‘The Cover of Artforum’ are two projects which target the disruption of major online campaigns. Alongside this, ‘In her Image’ conversations with other inspiring female artists highlights Andrew’s commitment to amplifying feminist voices within her practice. Her work continues to break glass ceilings, and by using the internet as an ally, she inspires other artists who are also unable to permeate the physical exclusivity of the traditional art world, to do the same.