Monday 31 May 2010

Some Bank Holiday magic!

As it's a long weekend I thought it was about time we had a bit of entertainment. So without further ado click the link HERE to see the ever fabulous Kylie Minogue in her most magical moment as a magician with more than a ltttle trick up her sleeve!

This gorgeous burlesque/music hall inspired video was directed by Ellen Von Unwerth one of my favourite photographers and an artist I have featured on this blog before. I love this collaboration between these two creative ladies!

Thursday 20 May 2010

The things she left behind

Image by Mark Anderson

It was Oct 2008 when I spotted Marilyn Monroe on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine that I had the idea of basing an art project around belongings and femininity. The article for the magazine's special 25th anniversary issue claimed it would 'unlock' the 45 year old Marilyn Monroe mystery by revealing her personal cache of items overlooked since her death all those years ago.

I eagerly thumbed through the pages and found beautiful full page spreads of channel bottles, necklaces and hand written notes and receipts laid carefully on soft pink rose petals. The photographer, Mark Anderson had spent two years recording these items in the hope to capture an essence of the 'real' Mariyln, and perhaps find out vital information about how she died.

The story of how many of these almost throw away objects came to be rediscovered revolves around two filing cabinets containing many of Monroe's personal documents, which upon her death were put into the care of Inez Melson, Marilyn's business manager. Melson promptly began to destroy many of the more delicate items, while 'putting aside' an apparent 586 belongings including some of the cabinets papers. It is this collection that Mark Anderson had somehow discovered and then documented for Vanity Fair and a forthcoming coffee table book.

Image by Mark Anderson

Much contoversy has arisen since the article with many claims that while some of the documents were undoubtedly real many objects such as strings of pearls and a mink coat have no substantial proof that they ever belonged to Marilyn. Furthermore, on writing this post I have been able to find NO images of the said article to share with you, it even seems Vanity Fair has had a bout of amnesia and the relevant web pages have been lost while the coffee table book is yet to be published.

Image by Mark Anderson

However, the authenticity is not my main issue here, it is the overwhelming feeling of sensing a person through belongings that captured my imagination. And it didn't really matter if these items had once belonged to such a famous gorgeous person as Marilyn or not, it was the idea that they had that got to me. I loved the way, Anderson's photos had a story like feel to them, giving little snippets of information and insights into this very glamorous woman's (be she real or not) life.

Image by Mark Anderson

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Audrey Flack

'Marilyn' by Audrey Flack 1977

I've been thinking a lot about how to narrate a story through objects, specifically feminine belongings hence my research into dressing tables and the dressing table gallery. The other week I remembered a fabulous artist by the name of Audrey Flack.

Flack is a pioneer of photorealism painting and a talented sculptor to boot. But it is her 1970's work called 'Vanitas' which always stuck in my head and ties in so well with my own current interests.

'Chanel' Audrey Flack 1974

Full of personal memorabilia these paintings related to her experiences as a woman, and expressed her own ideals of femininty; mixing rich fabrics, luscious lipsticks and delectable fruit with photos of family and celebrities.

'Queen' by Audrey Flack 1975-6

This clever yet simple idea perfectly encapsualtes one individual's passion for life and femininity and give the viewer an eyecatching interesting self portrait. The bright paintings where achieved by projecting a still life photo onto a canvas, then painstakingly painting and air brushing over the image to create an immacualte representation with a photo finish. The canvases are suprisingly large giving them a slightly filmic/advertisment quality.

I think these images are perfect in allowing the viewer to carefully 'read' each item displayed and piece together an idea of personal history whilst the subject stays frustratingly elusive!

Monday 10 May 2010

Dressing table gallery

Back again, this week's dressing table is from Alison Jayne Caddick from Manchester and I think it's a beauty!

This is one of those dressing tables a girl can't help but stare at because of all the lovely stuff piled onto it. A product junkie is how I'd describe Alison, with an extravert flair judging by the feathers and flamingoes. I think it creates a lovely personal portrait. Alison says of her dressing table;

'I only bought it in January when I moved into my first place. Wanted something really girly and big enough to make a mess on. Love the whole ritual of getting ready and felt this was adding to the fun'

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Busy busy busy...

A small section of Panoramia by Leo Fitzmaurice

It's been a while since I last posted as I've spent the last three weeks helping to install the new Leo Fitzmaurice show at The Lowry.

This show is part of the Transformations series based around artists responses to The Lowry's Promenade Gallery. It's a huge space and this show was pretty hardcore to produce. Imagine creating countless reproductions of film cartridge packaging on a giant scale (the walls are about 6 metres high, the gallery as long as a street!), complete with muli-coloured spectrum! The end result though is completely impressive, a show that lives up the the brief of transforming a space into a new landscape.

Leo Fitzmaurice artwork concentrates on advertising, signage, packaging and print reworking these themes to reveal other, often suprising, aspects from materials we often take for granted. The exhibition, Panoramia runs from now until the 5th September, with the private view taking place on the 13th May.

I will resume normal posts this week as I recover from muscle ache.

Other news:

The Chantilly Belles have recently been commissioned by The Whitworth Art Gallery to produce a new routine for the launch of the new adult learning programme!

Myself and Rene la Rouge are so excited to be involved in this event. We are creating
a brand new routine as a response to the Whitworth collection, in this case a fab wallpaper featuring vintage style pin ups! The launch night will be on the 11th June and I will fill you in on things as we put the routine together and rear up for a very busy month!