It goes without saying that the social nuances of dating have only gotten more complicated with all the technology we now use to keep in touch with each other. Although we tend to text and online chat at least as often than we actually talk face-to-face with people, there is something kind of unsettling about the immortality of texts. When you say something out loud, you can sugarcoat your memory and convince yourself that the idiotic things you uttered in the moment weren't as cringeworthy as they really were, for instance. But a text can be saved forever, and the permanence of this kind of vulnerability can feel mortifying after a breakup. This phenomenon is just one of many explored by a woman who turned breakup text messages into art, reclaiming this passive method of breaking up with someone by turning it into something captivating and entirely relatable.
Artist Allison Wade is based in New York City, and says that her work "deals with contemporary relationships and problems inherent in modes of communication." Her reinterpretation of breakup texts shows them in plain bold lettering against wild and colorful backgrounds, juxtaposing the content of the message with the cheerfulness of the piece. She says that she was inspired by her own experiences with breakup texts, by the difficulty of dating in the city, and by the struggle to move past a relationship after being broken up with so apathetically:
The paintings are funny, but they're also confrontational — the messages are bigger, they’re in bright colors, and the viewer interacts with a disposable medium in a more permanent form. It’s incredibly isolating to be broken up with via text; by bringing these messages to a physical space I hope that people will realize they’re not alone.
The paintings are currently available for viewing at the "It's Not You" exhibit at Rick Wester Fine Art until January 10 of next year. Wade says that the exhibit has inspired many of its viewers to approach her and share their own stories of bizarre, desperate, or sad breakup texts that they had received themselves. I think we can all see some of our own lives reflected in these powerful pieces: