‘Taboo Beauty' is a collection of printed textiles which explore
societal perceptions of disgust and beauty and how the context and materials can challenge these ideals. Each print represents a different narrative within this theme, from exploring taste in the decaying fruits of ‘The Ripe & Ruin’ print, to highlighting the dangers of surface beauty with the serial killer’s portraits in the ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ print.
HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT
The idea for the ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ print was created to question our perceptions of beauty and how they can actually be extremely misleading, dangerous and even deadly. The print is made in a traditionally opulent, luxurious style- but is instead focusing on a combination of poisonous flowers and poisonous people.
The print was originally inspired by my initial intrigue and disgust from a video of an endangered Surinam toad hatching it's young through the skin of it’s back- the feeling of being equally horrified and fascinated by this stayed with me. My final MA collection ‘Taboo Beauty’ looked at the overlap between these feelings and what influences can effect them- whether they are innate reactions to distance ourselves from ‘the other’, whether they are societally imposed or whether they come from triggers of past experiences. The Surinam toad was one for me and so it seemed like a good place to start the experimentation for my collection.
THE RIPE & RUIN
Historically, food has often been used as symbols when exploring themes of beauty in art and this print represents the importance of the demise of organic matter to create way for new- showing both the stages of the butterflies and the maggots and the necessity of both of these cycles. This print can be perceived as celebrating the allure of the ripe fruits and flowers, but hidden inside the pleats is the rotten ‘unbeautiful’ part that is often unseen but must exist to feed 'the beautiful'.
ARMOUR OF VULNERABILITY
The idea of making this latex trench coat was to create an ‘Armour of Vulnerability’. The cut of the coat needed to be strong to contrast the soft, delicate eyes on the latex. The idea was to create something that could be worn to reflect the importance we appoint to beauty by way of our clothing and to reflect these often uncomfortable gazes. It was important for this piece to be worn on the skin but also to move and glimmer in the light- to highlight each eye simultaneously to achieve this uncomfortable, uncanny unease.