This series alludes to religious iconography and makes direct reference to paintings by the Old Masters - Fuseli, Velazquez, Caravaggio, and Jacques-Louis David. Deconstructing and reconstructing the references and metaphors adding layers of meaning, guiding the spectator to a less ambiguous reading.
The collaboration of minds and the artistic talents of Gary Sheridan (Photographer) and Gemma Hadley (Model) tells the story of Gemma’s battle to overcome her eating disorder, aestheticizing her intense emotional responses/ the intensity of her feelings), the side-effects and scars. In a perfectionistic society which glorifies a form-over-function vision of the female body, this further oxygenates/fuels the burning flame. Gemma’s words below encompass her strength to overcome.
‘I am my own icon. I challenge the beliefs and ideals that have haunted my mind and driven my body to destruction.’
When observed, beauty is pleasure. Beauty is perfection. It’s a visual symphony, effortless and entrancing. It’s addictive and we either want it, or we want to be it. The perfect body. A beautiful face. Society tells us that this is what we desire, the key to contentment.
But what really lies behind all of this? Unlock the front door of social media, models, and normalised objectification, and behind it you will find corridors of conflict, cupboards of chaos and cellars of self-questioning.
Sinking in self-hatred, tormented by what we will never be and drowning in the sorrow of self-inflicted suffering. The mental and physical pain created by never-ending social feeds, quick-fixes and celebrity endorsements cannot be underestimated.
As modern-day iconoclasts we must challenge this. Confront the succubus that haunts us, face the monkeys on our back and question what we see... “social media impersonates art and art is an illusion.”