Luke Hand: Settings > Luke Hand
SEVENTH Gallery Workers Window
7 May – 1 June 2014

In Settings>Luke Hand, the artist presents an oversized, advertisement-like reproduction of an iPhone, displaying an imagined ‘Settings’ screen recording his current psychological settings. 

This work fits within Luke Hand’s practice of appropriating and replicating tokens of popular culture. Previous works include copying by hand the iconic J. D. Salinger novel Catcher in the Rye, dubbing over Hollywood hit movies The Truman Show and Dead Poets Society, and drawing an enlarged multi-colour copy of the New York Times’ 9/11 cover. By recreating existing and familiar subjects by hand, and allowing for divergences and mistakes, he personifies them and draws attention to their human quality.   

Luke sets parameters on the production of his work, through the choice of subject matter, material and process. Explaining the attraction of reproduction, Luke says, “I enjoy replicating other works because it sets a finite amount of work to do that I just need to chip away at…I like the labour and the time that goes into something like that.” Through the repetition of line and shading, the creative process becomes almost an unconscious act, allowing Luke to observe how the work comes together over time. The production of the work is deliberately crude and low-fi. Untrained in fine art, he explains that if he spends too much money on materials, he becomes cautious with the outcome of the work; hence his use of cheap, accessible materials, such as paper and coloured markers. By imposing such limits in the creative process, Luke feels liberated from the self-induced anxiety of endless possibility.  

Luke finds the creation of these works cathartic, both through the laborious process and also in the expression of personal and somewhat private truths. “I like expressing pretty raw, dark, and personal things but couching it in comedic and goofy works.” Indeed, in Settings>Luke Hand, the bright, child-like colours initially distract the viewer’s attention from the deeper truths that are revealed.

This work is born from a fascination with technology, digital media, and the way people interact with them. However, Luke does not intend this work to make sweeping claims about contemporary society. Rather, he is inspired by his own personal obsession with, and reliance on, his phone. Luke has utilised various apps to track facets of his life, including personal metrics, sleep and psychological state. This drawing appropriates the common display screen for such apps and introduces psychological measurements. Illustrating a potential for the future of technology, Luke proposes an app which, rather than reflecting our personal information, inverts this process, with the phone controlling our personal states. This is a future that, these days, does not feel too far-fetched.

- Laura Couttie, 2014