Daphne Plessner - Girlie

24 Oct 2008 – 21 Nov 2008

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Whitecross Gallery

London, United Kingdom


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  • Barbican / Old Street
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Whitecross Gallery welcomes you to ‘Girlie', an exciting and thought provoking solo exhibition of luscious new paintings by talented artist Daphne Plessner. Her work combines uncompromising social critique with colourful, elaborate surface decoration, and beautifully crafted, exquisite attention to detail. The idea of the girlie has been present in popular culture since the early part of the 20th century. During the 1940's and 50's the term referred to images of coquettishly posed naked women and pornographic magazines. By contrast, contemporary usage of the term touches on a disturbing trend where increasingly younger girls are groomed by the marketplace as sexually ripe adult women. Being ‘girlie' today is to be frivolous, dumb, childish and preoccupied with looking sexually attractive. By placing inane slogans found on girlie T-shirts alongside references to fantasy idealisations such as fairy queens, princesses, cuddly toys and playboy bunnies, Plessner highlights the underlying paradox of moral judgement upon female sexual behaviour. Patronising and derogatory labels such as bitch, whore, tart, slut etc., become secondary titles to her paintings, so as to draw attention to hypocritical attitudes towards women. For all of our supposed liberation, and power suited 1980's wonderwomen, little appears to have really improved at a time when the spectacle of the pole dancer is marketed to adolescents, and a sickly sugary sentimentality coats the stark reality of an unbridled capitalist machine that encourages paedophilia for profit. Viewers are left with the uncomfortable realisation that female sexuality is first set-up for consumption and then cast down through an alleged ‘moral' criticism. Daphne Plessner studied Fine Art in Germany at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste under the Fluxus artist Robin Page. She has completed a degree in philosophy from the University of London, where she specialised in aesthetics. She has won a number of research grants and was selected by Tracey Emin and Sir Peter Blake for inclusion in the prestigious John Moores Contemporary Painting 24 Exhibition. She is a Senior Lecturer and Course Director at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London where she lectures on 20thc Art Theory & Book Arts.

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