Michelle Marie Murphy’s Perceptual Beauty
In this series, Perceptual Beauty, artist Michelle Marie Murphy focuses on the “tools” of beauty. As Murphy describes the series,
“My interest is in the connections between the history of paint on canvas and how female bodies are represented as being painted upon, re-shaped and airbrushed. This leads me to explore the use of cosmetics as art materials and subject matter for my work. This approach removes these products from their original purpose and instead draws attention to the intrinsic qualities of the materials themselves.”
Murphy was inspired by scientific images while making these works. By separating the cosmetics from bodies, the artist forces us to look at makeup objectively. As she states,
“In a culture where the attainment of beauty is paramount, science strives to engineer the ultimate look. My photographic and video art explores the opposing positions in the relationship — between consumption that objectifies the expression of idealized beauty — and rebellion against what our consumer culture deems as ideal. My work shifts the “gaze” from the female as a subject (and often an object) to explore the purpose and role of beauty products. With my work, I am essentially questioning the nature of beauty ideals in today’s society and asking whether these ideals are driven from a personal perspective, or artificially created by consumer culture.”
For more on this series, and Murphy’s artworks, click here.
- Lee Jones