Jessamyn Lovell: Dear Erin Hart,

February 27 – March 28, 2015
See the Today Show interview with Jessamyn Lovell here!

Dear Erin Hart, is a body of work that came from the artist’s identity being stolen by Erin Hart, a woman who committed half a dozen petty crimes in San Francisco, where Lovell was living at the time. Lovell’s wallet was stolen from San Francisco Camerawork gallery in October 2009. The theft of her identity led to an unfortunate chain of events that has now hopefully ended with the arrest of Hart. Lovell turned the tables on Hart by hiring a private investigator to follow her, and even going as far as photographing Hart’s release from jail in March 2013.

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Dear Erin Hart, is artist Jessamyn Lovell’s response to being the victim of identity theft. In an act of retribution, Lovell pursued a woman who was using her stolen identity and made art of her process. Using a camera and occupying the varied roles of victim, stalker, investigator, artist, spy, and vigilante, Lovell offers a body of work that touches on contemporary concerns of surveillance and selfhood within the information age. For an artist whose previous work engaged questions of identity, Dear Erin Hart, represents Lovell’s continued examination of self as it relates to a “data-self” that exists amidst the chaotic of unfolding of real life.

The exhibition deploys photographs, video, and printed documentation to tell the story of a crime and two women who exist on either side of the bundle of data that defines them. Through her pursuit of Erin Hart, Lovell maps an understanding of both her own and Hart’s identity and the course of events that caused their live to become entwined. The photographs are stylistically anxious, often blurred and askew, suggesting an unsettled haste on the part of both the photographer and her subject. Oblique discoveries and glimpses of evidence seem to circle a host of underlying questions without establishing a core understanding of the perpetrator, the victim, or the implied witness. Despite our preoccupation with the invasive reach of surveillance and information technology, Dear Erin Hart, suggests that human identity — real, digital, or otherwise — remains an elusive target.

Jessamyn Lovell’s series was recently shown at San Francisco Camerawork, where it received extensive press attention.

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