The content for Explicit Complicit evolved through reading post-feminist theory. I read a statement along the lines of “All women recognize their voluntary and unwitting complicity in the Beauty Myth. “ I instantly related to this and came up with the concept of ‘A Dream Of Desire’ – after being inspired by ‘the dream of desire’ pose favoured by Picasso and Matise in reference to a quintessentially feminine pose by their artists’ models. Think Marilyn Monroe one arm raised hand behind head…I was totally inspired by Picasso and Matisse at the time and read about their friendship, artistic rivalry and relationships with their models and muses.
The works which have taken 10 years to realise – are divided into 3 different houses.
The Artist’s House, The Visitor’s House and The Onion House refer to womanhood and domestic life. Everywoman… The Onion House is like an exhibit in a zoo – it has an animalistic feel. I believe my model is genuinely a domestic nude, as opposed to a wild nude.
The rooms of the various houses have an underlying psychological tension – some of the ideas I was channeling at the time are feminine ego identity, masculinity, perfection or ideals of beauty. The Beauty Myth explicitly discusses issues of beauty and objectification of women, artist/model relationship, the mirror, the muse, the counsellor – gender identity and sexuality. There is no photoshopping in my pictures this is a real woman – there’s loss and absence, vulnerability and confrontational femininity, voyeurism, vanity, luxury, poverty…the feminine principal – love, body-love and body un-love. There is also a tacit understanding in the pictures of eating disorders and hunger, patriarchy and power, photo alteration and representation, pornography and fetishism, fashion and body fascism – sexual objectification – maybe even abuse.. just quietly….
I think the work has a strange timeless quality – a playboy magazine references the swinging ’60s but the photo may have been taken at any time since. The show also has a strange mesmerising quality and that is due, I think, to the presence and mana of collaborator /model Josie Thompson.
The subject is at once anonymous and then fully identified, hidden then exposed,
dressed / undressed. Explicit / Complicit.