Artist Louis Carreon questions the ungodly godlike modernity of digital search and ponders Google as the new “Church + State”

Originally a street artist whose tagged walls in every major US city, Louis Carreon has expanded into the high end gallery scene. It’s been the natural progression of street art to become more mainstream as the imagery and messages stay on the pulse of modern life and our growing questions about our changing world as well as our place within it. Humanity will never stop seeking; we search for answers to our existence in nature, science, books, laws and order, church and search engines. Of our most readily accessible means for search, Google reigns supreme as our source for story, media, truth/reality and insight. Google as truth? Google as God? Carreon ponders if Google has surpassed government and God as our source for answers in his new solo exhibition, “Church + State” at Hamilton Selway in Los Angeles.

Carreon’s known for his probing views on life and society. Hailing from California, he recently spent several in federal prison for drug-related offenses, and has devoted himself to art as never before.

According to the press release:

“Google it.” This simple phrase impressively captures our society’s view of the search engine: it’s the ultimate resource for answering any question, the end-all authority in settling a dispute and a platform we lend unyielding faith to as the arbiter of truth and reality.

“Everyone questions God and the relevance of God,” says Carreon. “We all put our faith in Google and no one questions the state. People have always looked to something else for answers, and with Google, we listen with almost blind faith. Just think about how you use it in your day to day life. It’s become your assistant. Your lawyer. It’s become your doctor. You can self-diagnose just by typing in symptoms in a search engine.”

In over thirty oil and mixed medium paintings, Carreon will explore these themes with his take on classic religious paintings, figurative works and a series of portraits of today’s social media-skewed youth, all with Google’s branding interwoven through the pieces. “There’s so much discussion about the rise of influencers on Instagram,” continues Carreon. “But people don’t realize that Google is actually the world’s biggest influencer.”

I’m fascinated by this exhibition because it questions the system as well as the searching. In a world where your mobile can literally supply answers, expertise, storytelling and narratives to any aspect of life, algorithms hold great power. They’re even more powerful if we don’t understand the function of such algorithms, the way they seldom seek nuance since they’re designed to eliminate any data that could be construed as noise. Yet, this doesn’t mean it’s amplifying the knowledge.

Carreon’s new solo show, “Church + State,” will open at Hamilton Selway on July 19.

July 19, 2018 | 5 – 9pm

July 19 – August 19, 2018

8678 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069