Through a series of provocative self-portraits rendered as paintings, photographs, and film, Andrea Mary Marshall examines the intersection of identity, female sexuality, and consumer culture in the context of the “ideal woman.”
“A Woman is a beast. She is as lovely as she is repulsive. She is one part demon and one part goddess…one part slave, one part muse…one part child and one part mother…these contradictions are what make a woman so intoxicating.” – Andrea Mary Marshall
Toxic Women is a narrative collection of work that looks at the implications of trying to live up to the cultural figment of the “ideal woman”. Through identity play that borders on performance, Marshall reinvents herself as highly developed characters meticulously crafted through the art of fashion, makeup, wigs, and props. For her series of “Vague Covers”, Marshall depicts the “toxic woman” as a dichotomy, born out of a pursuit of the ideal, simultaneously adored and rejected by society. There is the addict, the temptress, the woman with no boundaries, the self-saboteur, the perfectionist and the fame whore—archetypical toxic women Marshall has both encountered and embodied. Beginning with the “Vague Covers”, and carried out through the entire collection, the work explores the space where feelings for this toxic woman turn from infatuation to disgust, from attraction to repulsion. “We all have our demons. We can’t move into the light unless we’re willing to look at our darkness.” – Andrea Mary Marshall
The work of artist Adel Abdessemed is at once direct and poetic. He often uses common imagery and objects as a point of departure. However, the mundane beginnings of these objects only further underscore the weighty nature of his art. Abdessemed’s installations are able to provoke a sudden impact of its viewer. Still, the installations communicate complex ideas that unfold over extended viewing. At times controversial, his work is effective in piquing thought and discussion.
Tomokazu Matsuyama was born in Japan. He moved to the US when he was around ten years old, not speaking any English, and being overwhelmed by the culture shock of 1980s Los Angeles. His work is a reflection of this upbringing. Matsuyama’s paintings envision traditional Japanese imagery through the lens of American pop art, creating a unique and beautiful hybrid.
Lola Dupre’s collage visions can make Hilary Clinton look like Jaba the Hutt and Virginia Woolf look like a camel. Dupre cuts and pastes her pieces by hand, stretching or shrinking features of the face and/or body of politicians, celebrities, and anonymous characters. Strange though this may sound, her approach to collage seems so obvious it’s almost surprising no one’s thought of it before. This is what makes her work so strong. A really great idea can often seem familiar because it makes so much sense.
In her most recent work, Dupre has been transforming nude figures into unexpected (and sometimes ‘Human Centipede’-like) forms. Whereas in most of them she multiplies limbs and genitals, she throws you a curveball in Osa Desnuda, where she sticks a the top half of a teddy beat head on a nude woman with an ample drooping breast and strange proportions throughout. This one in particular is reminiscent of Wangechi Mutu’s work. She also creates hybrid forms with women’s bodies: confusingly erotic while also disturbing and unexpected, though Mutu’s work is more extreme than Dupre’s.
Although the images are made manually they don’t escape the digital. They reference (accidentally or intentionally) a computer screen that has frozen up where the user has tried to drag the image across the screen, only to have all the repetitions of the image remain as it is moved along. Though similar imagery could probably be made on photoshop, the handmade aspect is essential. The images would loose the sensual textures of skin achieved in the overlapping paper, and the process itself is more mysterious.
I am by no means a typography or design buff. I have heard at length discussions on Helvetica and whatnot- don’t ask me, I definitely used Comic Sans back in highschool to make my Pug Fans of the World website. Lol. Maybe I wasn’t that bad. Anyways, while perusing one of my favorite websites, FairSpot (an amazing directory for new creative talent) I came across Craig Ward. I really liked some of his takes on typography- like above, a weird silly string metal record looking layout that seems to vibrate. More creative solutions below.
French artist Olivier Garraud has created Second Life, an installation that encapsulates the life cycle of flies in real time. The piece consists of two parts: an apparatus that allows flies access to food, and a tube filled with maggots and flies connected to an amplifier. Second Life allows us to examine the relatively short life-span of an insect on concise, bare bones terms, generating a context which can be applied to personal events. More images after the jump, and you can also check out a video of the installation in action here.
Kevin Francis Gray’s neoclassicist-inspired sculptures are beautifully minimalist. Most of his work is created with leather, bronze, marble or fibreglass resin, depicting a stunning color palette of white, black, grey, brown, and gold. His subject is the human form and much of his work features shrouded figures. Gray attends to the detail and subtlety of the drapery that contain his figures, sometimes with a shocking element. His work exudes a familiarity and universality that is at once haunting and captivating. His work recently appeared in 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman as a darker version of the mirror man. Gray was born in Northern Ireland and currently lives in London