In an upcoming solo show at Delphian Gallery in London, artist Rhiannon Salisbury's paintings investigate the glossy representation of women in advertising and high-end beauty campaigns to expose what she says is an "absurd dystopian reality of the capitalist dream".
"I use my paintings as a tool to investigate the role of women within a patriarchal culture," she continues. "Using colour, form, and composition as language, I am investigating western standards of beauty and the idealisation of female adolescence, within the field of advertising. I deliberately work with found imagery from aspirational fashion and lifestyle magazines, focusing on the modelling campaigns of the most luxurious brands. Composition’s and imagery are tweaked to distort and expose my dystopian perception of this capitalist dream."
Salisbury adds: "I hope that the reinterpretation of the advertisements through painting opens up a dialogue where one can re-look at the structure of ideas and references used in each highly constructed and saturated image. Using gestures which explore the borderland between a substance that is alluring in its thick luscious texture, and grotesque in its ability to turn to chaotic mush, my paint handling and synthetic colour palette seeks to strike a balance that intends to at once allure and repel the viewer."
Inspired by serious literary and philosophical works such as The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, her process begins from selecting through an archive of advertisement imagery sourced through high-end beauty campaigns online and magazines.
The resulting paintings, entitled Habitual Submission, show the disturbance caused by the social pressures born of the mass media machine. The images morph into a synthetic chaotic mush which seeks to simultaneously allure and repel us. By decontextualising the original image, she engages with an otherwise unobtainable dialogue of beauty.
On show at Delphian Gallery until 8 October, Habitual Submission by Rhiannon Salisbury hopes to disrupt and reclaim the space these luxurious images occupy. If you like, call it a feminist manifesto for our current times.
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