BFA Visual & Critical Studies presents Drop Dead Gorgeous, a group exhibition with works by artists Kitty Brophy, Leonor Fini, Judy Mannarino, Pierre Molinier, Jimmy Tagliaferri, and Christopher Thixton. The exhibition, curated by VCS faculty member Peter Hristoff, investigates notions of the beautiful, the grotesque, desire, and sexuality.
Leonor Fini (1907-1996) was an artist and writer who depicted women in empowered and dominant roles. She worked primarily as a painter and printmaker, but also illustrated novels, including the controversial and anonymously published “Histoire D’O.” She was labeled a surrealist by many, but never called herself as such. Pierre Molinier (1900-1976) was an artist primarily known for his autoerotic photographs and collages. The work, a combination of dark glamour, kink, and of great formal beauty, remains shocking 40 years after his demise. The other artists in the exhibition have provided the following statements about their work:
The work I have been doing the last six months to the present is done from photos I take of myself. They are often very raw, grotesque, ugly, and then I ink and paint the figures to be beautiful, powerful, vulnerable, sexual, and of various genders. My artistic influences are feminism, the work of Aubrey Beardsley, David Bowie, and the many past and present female artists, writers, and photographers who create amazing work regardless of recognition or opportunities to exhibit.
I continue to work on series of paintings that are engaged in the exploration of altered emotional and psychological states of women; coupled with ideas of beauty, attitude and consequence. Each painting is the product of memory, perception and shifting points of view. I combine humor and dead serious drama in these works. The images depict the predicament of women revealing the inner and outer results of “covering up” and “acting out”- through ornaments, disguises and facial distortions, exposing vulnerability and conflict.
I want to create an unconventional space for androgyny to exist while blending this new identity with the ordinary – whether it’s through the medium of photography, video, or performance. I showcase honesty through photography in a way that displays the subjects or objects in a raw state. The camera is my microscope and I want to see every detail no matter if it’s ugly.
My artwork is fueled by what I’m feeling while working. It is a small intense moment between myself and the surface of the canvas or paper, and where the creative energy is anticipating its release. While my current work consists mostly of portraits and figures, my intentions are deeper than what is seen. The strokes are of rough edges and crude lines that scatter themselves on the surface and imply gesture. This process is done spontaneously; everything is, in a way, “freestyling.” Everything is just made up on the spot.
The gallery is open to the public Monday-Saturday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. For further information, or to contact the artists: [email protected]
Image credit: Return from the Ball N. Cervex, Gebbie, & Co. Photogravure c. 1890