Building on the traditions of portraiture, small oil paintings and documentary style video are used to critically engage with the discourse around fame in contemporary society. Informed by an exploration of the function of fame, the works critique whether the media’s obsession with celebrity represents a common aspiration or is a vehicle for the commodification of success.
‘Born To Be Famous?’ is a series of paintings parodying old school photographs that explore the relationship between photography and painting. Monographs and archives were researched to find early childhood photographs of artists who have interested me. These formed the source material for this series of small oil paintings exploring the pre-history of these artists. As a child I found the school photograph to be the most accessible type of portrait. The intention of the work is to examine the commodification of art through the context of the artist as celebrity whilst simultaneously acknowledging the art historical contributions of these artists. The mundane nature of the school photograph ask the viewer to consider if these artists have an iconic aura as a child or if it is the accident of opportunity that leads to them to fame.
In a style similar to the works of Tai-Shan Schierenberg the paintings clearly represent the human face whilst allowing the physicality of paint to produce a fluidity of mark making that enables an emotional charge to emerge. Working with a limited palette, heightened colours are used to differentiate the paintings from the flat photographic source image. The intuitive use of paint and gendered perspective on portraiture by Marlene Dumas and Chantal Joffe has informed the sensitivity of the portraits.
The pieces are scaled to standard photographic sizes but are clearly hand-made. Rather than simply wall hanging the portraits, the works operate as objects. The wooden frames, based on commercial photographers standard frames, assert the presence of the objects showing how the method of installation affects the reading of the work. Both the style of frame and the palette are adjusted to reflect the different eras of the photographic source.
The on-going video work, ‘Do you want to be famous?’ uses a straightforward style of filming recently used by artists Forsyth and Pollard. The subjects are framed in the same style as the painting series presenting a close up of the head and shoulders with a plain background. Sixty-four members of the public were interviewed about their views on fame and whether they themselves would want to be famous. The desire for fame is analysed to see if it reflects a motivation to emulate the achievements of the successful or escape the mundaneity of everyday life through self-elevation? The interviews were edited to present diverse opinions on various aspects of fame and what it represents to people.
Summer Shows 2012
Join us to celebrate creativity and spot the stars of the future this summer. Eclectic exhibitions of art, design, fashion, communication and performance are taking place at sites across London from April to September and are free to attend.More information