Mikey Foster Estes
Private Rainbows
June 8 – July 8, 2018
Opening Friday June 8, 6-9pm

Mikey Foster Estes_Private Rainbows
Still from “Private Rainbows” (2017) by Mikey Foster Estes, 2017, HD single-channel video, color, sound, 6 minutes 20 seconds – Courtesy of the artist and Microscope Gallery


Microscope is very pleased to present Private Rainbows, a solo exhibition of works by Brooklyn-based artist Mikey Foster Estes. The exhibition centers around the rainbow both as a personal, fleeting optical phenomenon and as a cultural symbol, forty years after Gilbert Baker debuted the original eight color striped pride flag at the Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco on June 25, 1978.

In new personal and poetic videos and photographic works shot on iPhone, Estes considers self and identity as captured through the interface of the device as well as the tension between the role of artist and that of user/consumer: “As the user of this device [iPhone] I am defined by both my presence and absence. I am interested in the process of locating the self within the scattered yet ordered space of the screen.”

In the single-channel piece “Private Rainbows” (HD video, 2017, silent, 6 minutes 20 seconds) Estes swipes through over 200 photos and videos of various small rainbows that appeared in his apartment over a six-month period, beginning with the first one – which was in the shape of a flag – and discovered on New Year’s Day 2017. Alongside the numerous rainbows that occur naturally in the piece are others the artist produced using a prism and sunlight to replicate properties of Newton’s prism experiment.

For “Spectrum Song” (two-channel video installation, 2018, sound, 9 minutes), Estes constructs a highly personal digital rainbow from screen recordings of eight computer desktops, the background and content of which correspond to the color or reference the symbolic meaning of each of the stripes of the original Gilbert Baker flag: hot pink = sex; red = life; orange = healing; yellow = sunlight; green = nature; turquoise = magic /art; indigo = serenity; violet = spirit. The video and photographic imagery, which was also shot on iPhone, of furniture, meals, bed sheets and other objects and elements in the artist’s apartment, play in computer windows as they are opened, rearranged, zoomed in, and stretched across the eight screens.

“Warm Body” (2018, archival inkjet print, 11 x 8.5 inches) is a self-portrait, with the reflection of the artist’s face barely visible through the smudges and fingerprints on the iPhone’s black screen. A final work, “Music Video” (video, sound, 9 minutes 19 seconds, 2018) features an uncut sequence from a videotape recorded by the artist at age ten when he hoped to become a musician. The young Estes cartwheels, dances, flips off the viewer (not with the middle-finger), sings, and shimmies before the camera that eventually switches from daylight to night vision.

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Mikey Foster Estes (born 1991, Park Ridge, IL) is an artist whose practice is rooted in the everyday and spans across the disciplines of sculpture, photography, video, performance, and writing. Estes completed his MFA in Studio Art at Hunter College in 2018 and earned a BFA in Sculpture in 2014 at Arizona State University. In 2016, he participated in the SOMA Summer residency program in Mexico City, which focused on the notion of the archive. His work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, and Portugal. Estes lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Private Rainbows opens on June 8th and continues through July 8th, 2018, with an opening reception on Friday June 8th, from 6 to 9pm. Gallery Hours: Thursday through Monday 1-6pm. For additional information or high res images please contact the gallery at 347.925.1433 or by email at inquires@microscopegallery.com.



Mikey Foster Estes_Spectrum Song
Mikey Foster Estes, “Spectrum Song”, 2018, two-channel video installation, sound, 9 minutes, installation view – Image courtesy of the artist and Microscope Gallery



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