A hidden beauty – Artist Statement

ANDRA BUHAI

A HIDDEN BEAUTY

 

A hidden beauty  is a body of work that explores the presence of the Gibson Girl in our modern age.

In the late 19th century, Charles Dana Gibson created the ideal feminine beauty, the Gibson Girl. She was the most beautiful, upper class, fashionable, athletic, calm, independent, confident and desired personal fulfilment. For twenty years these qualities were constantly advertised to women in such way that they quickly began to embrace her as a role model. They created their entire look after her and even their personalities were of a Gibson Girl, but the concept slowly faded away at the beginning of 1920s.

This body of work explores how her qualities are still advertised in our everyday life, in fashion magazines, especially on the covers, even though the Gibson Girl as a concept disappeared.

The pictures that can be seen from the left side, are recreated images from the covers of Vogue magazine. The reason for choosing Vogue covers is that the covers are the first thing the audience sees and where these characteristics are being massively sold to women across the world. The illustrations on the right side are slightly manipulated as I removed the background to have only the Gibson Girl whose pose would subtly match the one of the model’s in the other image.

366 MC – Critical Rationale

A hidden beauty is a body of work that explores the presence of the ideal characteristics of women, set at the end of the 19th century, in our modern age. It’s purpose is to show the audience that the Gibson Girl, who was the ideal beauty at that time, can still be seen through imagery and advertising, being massively sold to the women across the world.

In order to send a clear message to the audience I choose to recreate the images of four magazine covers, specifically, Vogue and combine them with slightly manipulated illustrations of the Gibson Girl. Vogue is one of the most influential fashion magazines in the world and also the image on the cover is what attracts the audience to look at it in the first place. The illustrations of the Gibson Girl were chosen in such way that the figure of the Ideal Beauty would subtly overlay on top of the model’s pose, in the other image.

After experimenting with a few techniques, I choose to create the final body of work using the Constantine technique for folding the paper, having the two images together in one. After the print is folded, it enables the viewer to see the image of the recreated cover from the left side and the illustration of the Gibson Girl from the right side.

I have encountered many problems while using this technique, as it necessitates a specific type of paper. Using the wrong type can make the paper and the ink crack when it is folded. The glossy paper is one of the types that will crack, because it is printed using a laser printer. I have also tried using polypropylene paper, which didn’t crack, but it wouldn’t stay folded. The final type of paper that I have used is a very thin matte paper which was easy to fold and didn’t crack, but the problem with this paper is that the prints don’t look as professional as they would look with a glossy paper.

After moving forward with the technique and putting the four prints together, I had to let go of one of them, as all four didn’t work well together. The composition of the three final images makes them work together very well, especially because of their colours, whereas the forth one, in which the black and white are more predominant, looks like it’s part of a different body of work.

The final body of work would be exhibited in a gallery, on a rectangular pillar, in the middle of the room. On the side of the pillar, which the audience will see first, when they enter the room I would have the artist statement, following with the images on each side of the pillar.

There would be three lights attached to the ceiling, each one facing down towards the side of the image with the Gibson Girl, enabling the viewer to see her silhouette, vaguely, on the other image. The audience can walk either way to view the body of work.

To conclude, while creating this body of work I have encountered many problems, which I believe that made a significant change in improving my skills and I have also learned many different and new techniques, the importance of paper and different types of paper.