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TONY BANUELOS - VIRTUALLY | Last modified: Thu Jul 23 10:14:41 PDT 2015

Launching October 5, 2012

Shoshana Wayne Gallery is pleased to present a web project by Tony Banuelos designed entirely for the gallery’s online exhibition program. The project titled “Virtually” is created on a free program run through Google, called “SketchUp,” a multifaceted design program, where users can create, download, and share 3D models. Banuelos creates a virtual gallery, which is a near exact copy of the actual gallery space in Santa Monica. The artist took precise measurements and photographs of the layout of the gallery’s exhibition space, offices, and garden. Through these measurements, he was able to capture most of the details using shared models found in the program's online community and the program's provided tools. Everything from the lighting fixtures, to the height of gallery walls, and even to the mundane office equipment hidden away from most of the public’s view, has been recorded in the virtual gallery. The viewer accesses the gallery space through a mix of captured still images and video clips, leading the viewer through an experience of a virtual exhibition titled "Virtually." The experience unravels like a storyboard that Banuelos creates. The artwork encountered in the virtual exhibition is in fact representative of subject matter and imagery that the artist uses in his work, which references ideas regarding youth culture, technology, magic and the occult. There are large-scale photographs and sculptures set inside the virtual gallery space; the irony being that the artist will likely never create or install these pieces as such in reality. The narrative takes a surreal turn, when the artist leads the virtual gallery visitor to increasingly unusual areas of the space, uncovering a fantasized version of the underbelly of the Shoshana Wayne Gallery. Banuelos works in the medium of the virtual while also exposing a meaning to what this experience reflects on culture at large. The specific word “virtually” resonates through its implication that we as consumers of digital media will never know completeness or finality despite the exponential growth of information available at any moment. Banuelos also speaks to the essence of what the internet is: as a proposal; as a virtual endless repurposing of information, images and stories where users engage in the discovering of another version of personal identity; one that is created out of role-play, or self-mythologization.