9 May - 1 June

Daniel Watkins


Commodity, marketing, advertising, and consumerism are givens in a media-centric world, where for better or worse, outlets for mass communications reign supreme. Engagement with and exposure to this world is determined by social, political, cultural, and economic factors, but essentially, the human experience is intrinsically linked to it all on some level. Semi-Synthetic is a collection of Daniel Watkins works which places himself, as well as the viewer, in the position of perpetual consumer and producer; allowing us to understand the essential attractions that guide, or sometimes mislead, humanity through our cultural references. We now semi embody consumerist pop culture. Our values, motivations and our relationship with self and society are intensely influenced by the categories of ‘target audiences’ we fall into and the omnipresent commercial symbolism, entertainment propaganda and advertisement campaigns that follow our quotidian. To be semi-embodied by what we consume leaves us with only a semi-authentic version of self. This leads to question if the human condition is now only a semi-person of free-will and a semi-product of references and influence? Have we ever
been more entire, or is this semi-authenticity simply innate to the culturally consumed human identity? Watkins allows us to recognise that the grounds have already been broken, and what novelty we have left to create is a semi-synthetic mosaic with the left over pieces of broken ground. The products of art, architecture, agriculture, cosmetics, medical science and many fundamental human sectors are finding themselves dwelling increasingly into the semi-synthetic. This sits well with the human as we find our comfort in consumerist conformity, we’re cosy being surrounded by the warmth of common symbolism, the innovative but not revolutionary. We find a sense of protection and satisfaction in understanding and obtaining the products that have always been accessible to us. As we often valorise people andproducts that go beyond the synthetic, individuals will be unlikely to valorise the semi-authentic, although it does seem to be a part of the entire human experience. Daniel Watkins’s latest exhibition, Semi-synthetic, through it’s layers of paint and palette, symbols and references asks you to question where your limits sit in the consumption and appreciation of different degrees of synthetic and authentic within the different human sectors.