And he removed my underwear with the force of an eager man,
hardened by desire.
Only to find:
the blooms of innocence,
still fresh, undamaged,
smelling like the cries of a thousand women raped.
His nostrils filled with a perfume
he could not contain.
Poem: Anna McKay
Top image: Kimber Beck
Bottom image: Alexandra Sophie
Valie Export’s photograph Action Pants: Genital Panic shows her sitting with genitals exposed while pointing a gun at the viewer. Export’s work draws attention to the ideas of phallic power and whether it truly comes from biology or can be attained otherwise. Export showcases her lack of penis by exposing her own vagina but reclaims the gun as her phallic object and power. It was rumoured that this photograph came after a live performance, where Export walked around people seated in a theatre, her vagina at their eye-level, and pointed a gun at them while offering sex until the theatre was empty. This imagery reminds me of the film Magic, Magic where, post-hypnotism, the female protagonist walks into the room of a man who has been sexually harassing her (verbally) and rubs her naked vagina in his face, all while being asleep. The woman has no recollection of events the next day and appears mortified when the man confronts her about it. This scene acts to remind us that such overt sexuality is not ‘acceptable’ in a woman with both male anger and female humiliation driving this. Export’s photograph works in the opposite way, purposefully pairing femininity with macho aggression (common in a lot of her work) to blur set gender boundaries.
Performance artist and photographer, Claire Doyle, recently paid homage to Export’s work in her performance piece Habitual Body Monitoring: The Costume. Doyle draws attention to female body hair through her performance which you can watch above. The acceptance and freedom of female body hair has been gaining support in recent years with other artists like Petra Collins and Rhiannon Scnhiederman springing to mind.
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Elleree Fletcher is a multi-faceted artist who works in paint, photography and collage. I was instantly drawn to her collages that pair young girls with older women to expose sexuality, femininity and the notion of influence. During my university days I studied subjects like the objectification of women in media and how society is so influenced by what we are exposed to, visually and otherwise. My sister, who has such a strong sense of self, still struggles to fully understand that people really could be so influenced by the media. I certainly remember striking poses as a young girl and wanting to be glamorous. In many ways it seems cute and innocent, but when Fletcher pairs these images with sexually-driven photographs from another era, innocence is lost and the more sinister nature is exposed. Now we see girls in training, smiling and striking a pose for the man behind the camera. A father who will one day be replaced by boyfriend, then husband – men forever infatuated with the female shell, intent on restricting it under the male gaze.
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Living in Christchurch, New Zealand has its downfalls. After the February earthquake (22/2/11) a lot changed – buildings were gone and the perks of city life diminished. Places to eat, drink and spend the early hours of the morning are hard to find and they aren’t what they used to be – although the new scene that is (slowly) building is pretty nice. All it needs, in my opinion, is some more creative, unique people to occupy it. In terms of post-earthquake perks, the addition of visually spectacular street art has to be at the top of the list. Around the city are huge pieces of art scattered on old, brick walls as well as resting on slick walls of the very newest buildings. Street art is truly a wonderful type of art. It brings joy and creativity to otherwise bland landscapes and is always united by its distinct style. I recently discovered Hannah Adamaszek (online unfortunately, her work does not grace my city yet) who is both a street artist as well as painter and drawer. Her work is incredibly delicious. Bohemian energy and whimsical colours connect in her feminine art that focuses on the female face. Whether big or small, her women look pretty damn enticing. Here are a few pieces that stood out to me, but do check out her website for much more – it’s a lovely website and you can also get the link to her blog there. We might be two peas in a pod, as while Hannah makes all this amazing art she also co-runs an art blog to help support other artists. Pretty cool, huh?
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2015 means the world moves into an eight year, which is a good thing! Eight represents abundance, especially with finances. So we can hopefully expect pay-rises and general improvement when it comes to the material world. To acknowledge the eight year, I have selected eight pieces of art to show. All are different (and don’t relate to money) but let’s hope they bring some good fortune to us all!
Marguerite Sauvage is a French illustrator who has a great portfolio of work, even doing some work for New Zealand (my homeland) clients. I recently found these two illustrations and something about them appealed to me more than Sauvage’s usual work. Both pieces have a political purpose – the first is against child slavery and the second is against harm to the environment via the overuse of plastic. I love the vibrant colour and find both images very captivating, as well as a little haunting with the use of the skeleton. The touch of death adds an important reminder about time and, for me, reminds us that what we do on this planet reaches a lot wider and longer than our own existence.
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Here’s a selection of art prints I think are pretty cool. If you also think these are cool then click on the link (the talented artists name) to be taken to the magical place where you can purchase them. All are really reasonably priced, so why not spoil yourself or a loved one? With Christmas coming it’s pretty much the ideal time for shopping and supporting artists. They all really appreciate it, I guarantee you. xx