Holy Smokes: Julia Colmenares1. May - 11. May 14 / ended Arcane Gallery
Open FIrst Thursday 1 May 6 - 9 pm and weekends: 3, 4 and 10, 11 May from 1 - 5pm
Holy Smokes: Recent Paintings by Julia Colmenares
Holy Smokes draws together a colourful mélange of print and paint. Imagery reminiscent of 50s ‘kitsch’ - mass produced art and advertising call to mind the ‘Feminine Mystique’; that book, published in 1963 by Betty Friedman that became emblematic of second wave feminism in the United States and of the ‘plight’ of middle-class white women, namely unhappy suburban housewives. Film stills and female celebrities further inform these recent works, acting as temporary escapism from ‘Post-Modern Identity’ seriousness, a convoluted foray into contemporary ’identity politics’: gender, race, sexuality and multiculturalism. Drawing from a ‘bricolaged’ pedigree: Latin American, Nordic and Euro-North American Indian roots, Colmenares incorporates references ranging from archetypal folk mythology to ‘body marking’ which recalls Native American Indian warpaint or celebratory ‘make-up, Kabuki and contemporary Manga.
Familiar themes of masquerade and gender are explored, begun as part of an earlier series entitled, ‘Baroque-co-co’. These works continue the investigation into the modeling of personal image through the consumption of popular culture, mediated by the web, online shopping, television – news, ‘you name it, you can have it!’ attitude, ironically no different from the American ‘can do’ slogan of positivity and self-worth. There is no visual verdict reached either condemning or extolling their virtue, human foibles and pecadillos.
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