arebyte gallery is pleased to host Gretchen Andrew’s two-part residency and exhibition entitled HOW TO HOW TO HOW TO (2016), which investigates what you can and cannot learn, and by way of learning and become, through time + persistence + YouTube “How to” searches including: how to die, how to speak Japanese, how to be sexy, how to do a split, and how to be religious.
When Gretchen Andrew left her Silicon Valley job to be an artist no evidence existed that this was something she could actually do. Armed with the wilfully utopian ideals of the software industry her plan was to learn everything about becoming an artist on the Internet.
As her painting practice encounters obstacles that cannot be Goggled away she has turned to the question of what can and cannot be learned through the internet, specifically through YouTube: How To. The result is both performative and visual, embodied and object based, digital and physical. The .gif with its repetitive loop is used as the primary medium to suggest and question the notion of “practice makes perfect.”
The gif versions of Gretchen endlessly attempt to do splits, walk in high heels, and prepare a body for burial even when the artist’s physical body is distracted or exhausted. The gif Gretchen creates exist in a world where time, energy, and motivation appear to be only limitations to success.
Can you learn everything on the Internet? Gretchen Andrew’s residency and exhibition investigates the validity and shortcomings of such a claim. What else have the Internet and technology promised? What limits us? Undertones of genetic, social, family, and class privilege exist in the notions of success and failure.
Gretchen Andrew (b California. 1988) started painting in San Francisco after becoming convinced that the Internet can teach you anything. Her practice incorporates traditional oil painting and related investigations of knowing and becoming. She has completed projects or exhibitions with The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, The V&A Museum, The British Film Institute, The Lumen Prize for Digital Art, The British Arts Council, and The White Building. She trains in London with the artist Billy Childish.