Have you ever finished a painting and completely destroyed your brushes, wondering if you would ever use your beloved, mangled, crusty tools again? Well, here is one artist that has found good use of old, filthy brushes. Rebecca Szeto takes found, used brushes, especially ones that could never be used again, and transforms them into little masterpieces of their own. The handle of her brushes are carved and painted to appear as fancy women, while the bottom bristles of the brush are left to look as they originally appear. With a little creativity and ingenuity, Rebecca Szeto makes the wider bottoms look like dress skirts. The stained, curled up bristles are now fringes to an elaborate gown, the paint being its silk.
The women Szeto’s brushes magically become many different kinds of women, taking on the form of all different shapes and sizes. They include women of different ethnicities and origins; one even portrays a mother adoringly holding her baby. You may have noticed some of the brush-women looking familiar to you. This is because several of the characters hold an art historical significance. For example, one woman is obviously Vermeer’s The Girl With the Pearl Earring, while another, maybe not so obviously, is the little girl in Diego Velasquez’s Las Meninas. Rebecca Szeto has cleverly taken an object that would normally be discarded, and with a little patience and skills, transformed it into something unique and amazing. Szeto explains further her intent behind these little women and what they convey.
“These works are an homage to an often lost sensibility and quality of touch and thought, not simply the superficial look of Old Masters’ works. The lady-like portraits are a playful strategy I use to introduce the more indelicate and subtler aspects of waste management and working women (underestimated, underpaid, unnoticed, yet unyielding).”