Round Five: Flowers
Jessica Stewart vs Jenny Liz Rome
I was quite shocked at the similarities between these two images considering the differences in style. Stewart’s image is pencil and spray paint, while Rome uses what appears to be a mix of photography and pencil or pen work. Both images are joined together by the woman’s face being covered by flora and the rest of her appearing naked. Cropping is quite similar too, as well as the obvious monochrome palate. While it fascinates me how much the two images have in common, the question remains: who does it better?
What I like about the first image (Stewart):
I love the rawness to the image. It is smudgy and gives the effect of an old photograph that hasn’t focused properly. The faded nature of the piece adds a slight surrealism to the piece, almost as if it is flickering in front of me, and has a sense of horror. It is somewhat disturbing and seems to remind me of American Horror Story – that concept of mutilation of a corpse through joining to another creature, or in this case, flowers. It looks like a bug of sorts is coming out of her mouth which seems to affirm the idea of death – her body decaying with nature enveloping it. The image is successful, yet the more I look at it the darker it gets. I remember when I first saw it that I thought it was more beautiful, but now I have made too many darker connotations. But I love the style and effect created through the use of pencil and spray paint.
What I like about the second image (Rome):
This image has a kind of Marie Antoinette vibe. The roses acting as the tall white hair, yet as with Stewart’s image, the flowers cover the eyes and move past hair to a consuming entity. The style is quite neat and clean. The roses drawn with precision and in a stylistic way. They are placed rather neatly over the smooth body of the woman, and the tattoo looks as if it could be legitimate. So, had Rome not put the roses over the woman’s head, we could have had a rather mundane image. Instead, the flowers cover her eyes – is this symbolic, vision being blinded by beauty (roses)? – and give the piece more complexity and interest. I have to admit that there seems to be something missing for me. I’m not sure exactly what. Perhaps it is a touch of evil? Or would it be more powerful if there was another woman wrapped around her shoulder staring right into us (a contrast of vision and blindness)? I do like the piece, but I just find myself wanting a little bit more.
Both images caught my attention due to their similarities, and while I do like aspects of them, they don’t quite wholly connect with my aesthetic. One is potentially too disturbing, and the other a little safe. But I think I would have to crown Stewart the winner today. I (ironically) love that it looks photographic and historical. A combination of horror and cabinets of curiosities that makes me nostalgic for the weirdness of the past.
Do you agree? Let me know who you would crown winner.