Natalie Preston holds a BFA in painting with a minor in Art History from Pratt Institute and MFA in painting from Ohio University. Preston's practice investigates the complexities inherent in our unique interactions with the world, expressed through playful yet twisted interpretations of body image, fabrication of identity, and disembodiment. Preston has exhibited work nationally, including Pennsylvania, New York, California and Ohio. She is currently living and working in Queens, NY.
My work investigates the system of binaries that we live within, where we are both normal and abnormal, controlled by ourselves and by each other, an isolated individual and part of a system. I am particularly interested in two conflicts: the impulse to be an individual without being isolated, and transcending the physical body while searching for affinity with the material world. At first I thought of my skin as a boundary, an unavoidable abstraction of the “true self” that lived beneath it. How could I be me with predetermined physical attributes? Looking for the most accessible ways to erase my physical body, I gravitated towards technology and performance art, in favor of flexible interfaces that I could control.
Gradually the relations between my body and identity, and the technologies I am interested in (the Internet, smartphones, and social media) became freer and more subtle. My work explores the malleability of our identities and our bodies in a society inundated with technologies. I move towards expressing how the pursuit of individuality is not an individual pursuit, but a collective one. When exhibited, each piece, like each person, can and does stand alone, but both are parts of the shared awareness of our current condition. Just like our bodies and identities, my work is not suspended in a fixed state, but is defined by an endless series of transient and unique personal interactions and the paradox inherent in disconnecting ourselves to become more connected.