Cosmetic Paintings

As a woman, I have always struggled with the idea of using cosmetics and other feminine products to change my appearance, yet I continue to use these products on a daily basis.  Although makeup is not required for women, it seems that our culture has determined its own standards for beauty through the imagery that surrounds us.  Today's advertising constantly encourages women to make themselves thinner and use certain products to conform to unrealistic beauty standards.  My work aims to show these products as an artistic medium rather than a necessity imposed by the commercial world.  Instead of using the cosmetics to sexualize or change one's appearance, they are used to create abstract art.

"Cosmetic Paintings" is ultimately a study of the products that women use.  It consists of paintings made by using various cosmetics and products advertised to women (such as foundation, cleansers, eye shadow, hair gel, etc.) on small transparencies.  Because many of the products are so different in texture and application, the paintings vary in size from 2x3" to 8x10".  These miniature paintings are then scanned at a high resolution and printed as large murals or rearranged into grids.  Because the paintings are digitally enlarged to be about 15 times their actual size, the products become much more abstract and their textures are emphasized.

The scale of the prints also allows the viewer to get a closer look at what women are putting on their bodies.  While the imagery may be visually appealing, the desire to use some of those products may also become less pleasing to some.  The work is not meant to portray a positive or negative view of the products, as women should feel free to use cosmetics if they so choose.  Nevertheless, I believe we should not use cosmetics due to peer pressure; rather, we should use it as a medium - one that we can use to express ourselves and create art instead of hiding our natural beauty. 

When framed, the images protrude three inches from the wall in reference to Frank Stella's black paintings, for which Stella used three-inch stretcher bars to give his paintings the appearance of an object with paint, rather than merely a painting.  This allows my work to tread the line between the mediums of painting, sculpture, and photography.  The "object-like" appearance also implies the objectification of the products themselves instead of the women that that use them.