Photographer Lincoln Clarkes examines the street corners of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to expose moments in the lives of over 400 female heroin addicts over the course of five years.
It began when Clarkes took a photograph of his long-time friend, Leah, “shooting up” against the backdrop of a Calvin Klein billboard starring Kate Moss- and interesting juxtaposition indeed.
“Heroines” captures the bleak realities of female addicts within the city. Clarkes exposes the physical and emotional scars of women whom inhabited a space were death was always nearby. Although the images are disturbing in many levels, it is hard to ignore Clarkes’ attempt to make the women shine through a different kind of light, perhaps a positive one, where their vulnerability brings forth an unusual kind of beauty. The photos serves as a kind of a tableau vivant of unwitnessed experiences in the social history of the Vancouver city life. (via Huff Post Exposure)
Hong Kong artist May Sum sculpts figures out of lipstick. While she sculpts animals and other objects, most of her figures are modeled on influential women in a series titled “Woman Power.” Lipstick comes in various shades, packaging, and shapes, and Sum uses this variety to her advantage creating a series of finely detailed iconic busts. The medium used to sculpt these women is fitting as powerful women are often judged against cultural ideals of beauty and image.
Sum doesn’t just limit herself to iconic women as subjects for her sculptures. She also takes custom orders. If you send her a photograph of what you’d like sculpted, she’ll create a miniature lipstick sculpture in its likeness. (via design taxi)
The series Like Everyday of Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian is powerful in its simplicity. She created the images shortly after marrying her husband, and indeed the series explores her concerns associated with being a wife as well as gender roles. In the series figures appear to be veiled in patterned cloth similar to the traditional Iranian Chador. The figure’s face, however, is obscured or replaced with a household item, often one associated with daily chores. Ghadirian says of her subjects, ”My series is exactly like a mirror of my life and other women like me — my sisters, my friends, the women who live in this country.” Though the series specifically addresses Iranian women, the photographs capture more universal anxieties concerning gender roles – the anxiety that accompanies building an identity as a woman and a wife, navigating issues of power within a marriage.
When I first looked at Yossi Loloi’s “Full Beauty” project, I felt conflicted, and, admittedly, a little irritated. Loloi’s whole mission statement is something we, as women, are constantly being reminded of– how the media is a horrible liar, how all women’s bodies are beautiful, how the art world is sexist too, and how we need to subvert to change and love our bodies, love ourselves. Right? Right! So, how might we do this? According to Loloi, one way, is to examine unconventional imagery such as his own collection of beautiful obese women, commercially lit in relaxed settings.
Of his intention, Loloi’s website states, “I focus on their fullness and femininity, as a form of protest against discrimination set by media and by today’s society. What larger women embody to me is simply a different form of beauty. I believe we own ‘freedom of taste’ and one shouldn’t be reluctant of expressing his inclination towards it. Limiting this freedom is living in a dictatorship of esthetics.”
What Loloi says is not horrible, not terrible. It’s quick, easy, and makes perfect sense. Scroll through the photos and you will see that these women certainly are strong and brave to share bodies that, on the surface, are not generally appreciated. I love the female subjects for embracing this. In fact, the women’s bravery is the most redeeming aspect of this project.
Whether it’s hand painted, collaged, and/or sewn together, Jenny Toth imaginatively entwines colorful drawings of the animal kingdom to meditate on a sometimes humorous, and always surreal study of the female condition.
Of her work, Toth states, “For many years I have been intrigued by the way women artists choose to depict themselves. Like many other artists, my view dramatically differs from a historical approach to the female model. I choose to include elements not traditionally viewed as beautiful—for example, a deformed toe, hairy legs, unkempt hair. However I have no interest in shocking the viewer, but seek to share my honest, uncensored observations. I have always been allergic to pretense and slickness.”
“Over the last decade, Nina Surel has been developing a unique series of mixed media portrait-landscapes that offers a vivid portrayal of what it means to be a modern woman, in a way that is witty, provocative and honest. Ironically enough, she uses the visual language of early feminist literature and the aesthetics of 19th Century Romanticism to make statements about repressed desires, complicated lives, and the interactions of women with their own selves and their surroundings, that are absolutely modern and of-our-time. They are scenes that can only happen deep in the understory of the most primeval of forests, under cover of the bountiful canopy, and they have their genesis even further below, where the oldest roots of these trees are.
Surel employs a wide range of media, such as photography, painting, collage and assemblage. The conceptual underpinnings of the work are in Surel’s own childhood stories, fairytales, and romantic literature.” – from the artist’s website
Painter Troy Brooks creates curious and unsettling canvases. Painting in a Pop surrealist style, Brooks depicts scenes where something terribly strange has just occurred or is about to unfold. Each piece is dominated by a female figure, all similar in appearance but clearly different in personality – some bored, some subversive, other outright violent. Brooks makes use of a sort of symbolism transforming each setting into an allegorical scene.
Recent Ontario College of Art and Design graduate Sarah Joncas already has a distinct, characteristic style that has earned her several awards, as well as garnered the attentions of top galleries around the US. Her paintings often focus on a lone woman, drawing out her narrative in a combination of bold hues and shadowy tones. The themes explored in her works are at times dark but at other times quite whimsical. Currently, the Toronto-based artist is representing Canada in an all-female group show entitled ‘International Woman’ which can be caught at the UK’s Warrington Museum now through July 7th. Living on this side of the pond, as they say? Then check out the artist’s upcoming joint show with fellow painter Caia Koopman, opening June 16th at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California.