“If surface veils depth, if appearance masks essence, then make-up masks a mask, veils a veil, disguises a disguise. It is not simply a deception, it’s a double deception. It is a surface on a surface, and thus even farther from substance than ‘true’ appearance. How things appear is one thing; how things appear to appear is another.” - David Batchelor
Apocalypstick is a personal reflection on the cliches of feminine beauty and the inherent trickery of photography. How is the body coded as female? How is the body styled, posed, photographed and retouched to appear beautiful and sexual?
Photographs from two different bodies of work, Natural Deceptions and How She Got Her Body Back, are intertwined in this exhibition. In Natural Deceptions, my mother, sister, and I perform in the harsh revealing light of the flash; we pose and masquerade as our identities become unstable and begin to merge. We impersonate each other and ourselves, emulating the glamorous images of women that have taught us how to be beautiful. The photographs in How She Got Her Body Back further fragments this glamorous imagery, reducing the body to shapes and outlines meant to titillate and please. The boundaries between in camera manipulation and digital collage are blurred, redirecting the gaze to the artifice of the image.
Tropes are reworked into layered illusions with garish colors that challenge the idea of beauty being easy on the eyes. By exploring the dichotomy of seduction and degradation that is woven into the way idealized beauty is advertised, I revel in the superficial, striving to tease it apart from the trivial.