Saturday, April 28, 2012

Face Value at Governors State University Gallery


If there is one word I could use to describe Becki Moffett-Moore's Face Value graduate show at Governors State University, it is "brilliant." Her work ranges from pieces inspired by clever witticisms and wordplay to much more serious and thought-provoking work. I am so glad that when I was dropping off Frozen Bride for the alumni show, Becki was just finishing up her installation. And she let me take pictures. (Click to see larger versions)


The definitions of each of these words are illustrated by the faces on the tiles.


This piece contains personal artifacts that are souvenirs of the artist's family history.




In this whimsical series, Becki makes use of her graphic design skills to create milk cartons that display photos of subjects whose faces are missing.


This piece uses an old box spring as its structure.





This extraordinary and time-intensive piece is a play on the expression "blockheads."  Each face was made from a cast, and the cast of characters are, with only one exception, friends and family of the artist.  It was definitely worth the time and effort put into its creation.


This character has literally been left outside in the cold and is screaming to be let back in.

Sadly, the show is only on view for a limited time and the gallery is not open on the weekend.  The last day to see it at Governors State is Monday the 30th from 5-7 p.m.

Visual Arts Gallery
Governors State University
1 University Parkway
University Park, IL

When Becki shows this series again, I will post about it again.  It really is a great show to experience in person.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Saga Continues...

Before I start writing about the pictures I've just posted, I want to thank everyone who came to the Doll Project / You Are Beautiful show at Flourish Studios last night. It was one of the best attended (not quite) solo shows I've done in a while, and it really means a lot to me to know that there are people who are interested in seeing my work and hearing what I have to say. Your support has been the impetus to continue my work on this project, which is about 2/3 of the way complete at this point.

Here are two photos that weren't ready when I hung the others last week. I wanted to share them now. They are photos of Mia and the Anas in the present day. After showing how their predecessors were influenced by the media of their eras, I wanted to satirize the media that girls view today.

Inspired by images they see on tv and Mia's mom's diet book, three young girls decide to go on their first diet
The book says "don't eat." How can Mia enjoy her S'mores now?

The exaggerated image on the television is a photo of some actual fashion dolls that were produced a few years ago.

MGA Hi Glamm dolls

Manufactured by MGA, the producers of Bratz dolls, the Hi Glamm girls are basically an updated version of the Leggy dolls Hasbro made from 1971 - 1973.  Freakishly proportioned with legs that go on for miles, these dolls are like a Photoshop disaster rendered in three dimensions.  (I have the three on the right, by the way.)  They are symbolic of the unrealistic standards of beauty so prevalent in ads today thanks to plastic surgery and Photoshop.

The next intrusion upon the innocence of little girlhood comes from an ad for a new show that will feature a celebrity who went "from webcam hottie to reality tv superstar."  Who needs talent, integrity, or intelligence when you can just make a spectacle of yourself for cameras, right?


Her near-nudity is in stark contrast to the princesses and ponies the girls were playing with.

lolita on tv

I also did a whole photo shoot this morning of a character I ended up not using.  I thought of showing the girls watching music videos, but the pictures I took don't read well at the size of the Barbie TV screen.  But since I worked so hard, I'll let you see one of them.

Venus in Feathers music video purple glitter 4 copy

And speaking of new photos, the new clothes I ordered for the doll project just arrived yesterday.  I will be using them in some new photos I've been planning to take.

skeletal Black Ana in a yellow dress

skeletal brunette Ana in a skeleton tee shirt

I was inspired by the You Are Beautiful installation to create a final poster that will feature dolls in this shirt:

Mattel Rebeldes doll in I Am Beautiful shirt
As I complete more pictures for this series, I will post them on my blog. Subscribe, follow, or "Like" my page to get the latest updates.

Saturday Solutions book review, Earth Day Edition

Tomorrow is Earth Day, a day that I first celebrated as a Girl Scout by watching the film of How The Lorax Was Lifted (the old school filmstrip version, not the hi-def CGI version in theaters now) and cleaning up the side of a road with the rest of my troop.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks of Earth Day as a day where you go out and do something to help the environment.  But for those of us who are artists, we can start in our studios.

I became interested in having a sustainable studio practice as a complement to Post-Consumerism.  And one day I found this wonderful book, Green Guide for Artists: Nontoxic Recipes, Green Art Ideas, & Resources for the Eco-Conscious Artist. From recipes for milk paint to plant based pigments, there are great ideas for using natural and ingredients to produce great art.  Because some of the ingredients are items you can pick up at your local grocery store (as opposed to the often pricey art supply stores so many of us frequent), you may find a green approach more economical as well.  

Pictured in the photo with the book are two of the buckets I use to wash my brushes in.  As many of you know, my painting medium of choice is nontoxic acrylic paint.  I wanted to take my environmentally friendly approach one step further.  Instead of pouring paint-contaminated water down the drain, I wash my brushes in buckets and when the water in them evaporates, paint skins are left behind.  I have been saving the skins for use in some pieces I am currently working on.  When they are complete I will post them on here.

My May featured guest artist: Travis Mitchell

Next month at my May Open Studio, I am featuring work by Travis Mitchell. I met him last year at his studio in the Flat Iron Building in Wicker Park and was very impressed with his work. Here's what Travis has to say about his art:

My work had been described as psychotic, obsessed, methodical, paranoid, and labor intensive to an almost painful quality.

Fragmented by contradiction, stripped of logical order, relentlessly reflected by nature, the reality of mind cannot rest. Inflicted with fear, wonder, awe and panic, my work is an obsessive compulsive expression of the human emotional experience. I fantasize that time will reveal itself as a journey to peace and acceptance of life.

See more of his new work in May.  Here is more information:

May Open Studio
Friday, May 11th
6 - 9 p.m.
The Fine Arts Building
410 S. Michigan Ave.
Studio 632F
Chicago, IL

Saturday, April 14, 2012

More new pictures from The Doll Project

I just wrote a new artist statement for The Doll Project.  Hopefully it makes my intentions as an artist a little clearer:

The Doll Project is a series of conceptual digital photographs that uses fashion dolls to embody the negative messages the media gives to young girls. Though it would not be fair to blame it all on Barbie, there have been many instances in which she has come dangerously close. I chose to use Barbie dolls because they are miniature mannequins, emblems of the fashion world writ small, a representation of our culture's impossible standards of beauty scaled to one sixth actual size. The little pink scale and How To Lose Weight book are both real Barbie accessories from the 1960s. They are recurring motifs in the pictures in the series, symbolizing the ongoing dissatisfaction many girls and women feel about their weight and body image. The dolls' names, Ana and Mia, are taken from internet neologisms coined by anorexic and bulimic girls who have formed online communities with the unfortunate purpose of encouraging each other in their disordered eating. With each passing era, Ana and Mia are younger and younger, and the physical ideal to which they aspire becomes more unattainable. They internalize the unrealistic expectations of a society that digitally manipulates images of women in fashion and beauty advertisements and value their own bodies only as objects for others to look at and desire. 

I have also taken numerous new photographs for the series.  I have to admit that before Flourish Studios invited me to exhibit the series at their gallery, I felt too discouraged to continue taking pictures.  It was starting to feel like a waste of time.  Back in 2009, I stopped taking pictures for the series so I could improve my photography technique, practicing my taking pictures of dolls in my collection in other settings, like the Miniature Art Show series.

Fianna from the Bratz Tokyo A Go Go series in my miniature art gallery

I used So In Style Trichelle Darren in a Valentine's Day themed mini gallery photo shoot.

I took other pictures of them too.

my vintage 80's Miko doll made a great model

Adorable Deluxe Reading Penny Brite in front of a retro backdrop

And then last fall, Flourish Studios gave me this amazing opportunity.  My next obstacle was a financial one.  The other reason I had not continued taking pictures for The Doll Project was the cost of the vintage dolls and accessories I wanted to use for the 1960s and 1980s scenes.  I tried doing an IndieGoGo campaign and it was a huge failure.  No one donated anything to it at all.  I ended up funding everything myself, making a huge sacrifice for my art, forsaking shopping and other expenses.  Among the props I finally was able to purchase were the reproduction Julia doll I needed (the first Black Barbie produced) for the 60s, and a miniature apartment for her, as well as a trio of late 1980s/early 1990s girls with fluffy bangs: Jazzie, her friend Chelsea, and Black Pizza Party Skipper.  I am happy to say that the time, effort, and money I put into this phase of the project were worth it.

Broadcast Yourself

A comparison of Barbie doll bodies from 1966, 1999, 2006. They just keep getting thinner and thinner.

Ana and Mia as two Mattel Jazzie dolls from the late 80's/early 90's, purging through aerobics.

Two Jazzie dolls and one Pizza Party Skipper go on their first diet, circa 1989.
Ana goes on her first diet in the late 1960s

Ana goes on her first diet in the late 1960s, as portrayed by a Mattel Julia doll.

Ana goes on her first diet in the late 1960s, as portrayed by a Mattel Julia doll.

By my estimation, this project is two-thirds complete, as there are still a number of photos I have yet to take for it.  Stay tuned for more updates soon.

My Three Shows

Ever wished you could be in two places at once?  How about three? I have work in three shows right now: my Post-Consumerism solo show at UIC, The Doll Project at Flourish Studios, and a group show at the Fine Arts Building.  That's why I haven't written anything for this blog since February.  Dividing my schedule between a full time job, a long distance relationship, and preparing for two solo shows and a group show, I just haven't had the time to blog about what I've been doing.  I did post some pictures on Facebook and Pinterest, which I recently joined.  But now I finally have time to write about them on here.

Post-Consumerism at UIC

Through 4/27/2012



The Doll Project at Flourish Studios

Through 5/8/2012

This is my first solo exhibition of work from The Doll Project.  Those of you who've been reading this blog for a while may recall some of the earlier pictures I took back in 2008.  I have taken many new photos this year that have never been exhibited before.  The photos, most of which measure 11"x14", are priced at $60 and up.  10% of the profits from art sold during the opening reception (Friday, April 20th from 6-8 p.m.) will benefit Demoiselle 2 Femme, a Chicago based nonprofit that empowers urban girls.







Paradigm Shift: The Art of the Chicago Spring

Through 5/10/2012

This is my first time organizing a large group art show, which proved to be a huge undertaking.  I consider it a labor of love in service to the Occupy Movement.  Solidarity is a beautiful thing, and artists are the 99%.  Most of the artwork in this show is for sale, but no commissions will be taken from the artists participating in it.


I still have not decided on a title for my newest recessionist piece, but here it is, made of shredded money and vinyl letters on canvas panel.  Believe it or not, this is only the second time I have exhibited a recessionist assemblage in a show, even though I have been working in this style since 2008.

And here is work from the other artists in the show, many of whom I found at the Revolution 2012 show at Jackson Junge.  The others were artists I met in other shows and venues, or through the Occupy Chicago Rebel Arts Collective.

prints by Fotios Zemenides

painting by Robert Sebanc

Paintings by Patricia Larkin Green

Mixed media piece by Jeanine Hill-Soldner and painting by Robert Sebanc

Sculptures by Fleurs de guerre and mixed media piece by Jeanine Hill-Soldner

Painting by Robyn Alatorre

Quilt by Jeremiah Jones and photos by Charles Miller

Drawing by Fleurs de guerre and photos by Serge Lubumudrov

The Rebel Arts Collective also set up a table with stencils so people visiting the gallery could make their own wearable protest art.


They also performed a piece entitled Machine Breaks Down, People Rise Up, telling the story of the financial crisis and the Occupy Movement in just four minutes.

If you will be in the Chicago area before May 10th, stop by the Fine Arts Building to see this show.
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