UNIX Gallery proudly presents Everything in Equal Measure by artist Machiko Edmondson, a study of paintings that examines the hyperreal anomalous “anti-portraits,” questioning relationships between reality and symbols in our postmodern society. Featuring new oil works inspired by the philosophical principles of Jean Baudrillard, gender and beauty, and simulating the real, Everything In Equal Measure marks the artist’s first solo exhibition at UNIX Gallery. On view from March 3 - April 2, 2016, an opening reception will be held at the Chelsea gallery, 532 West 24th Street, on Thursday, March 3, 2016 from 6 - 8 PM.
Machiko Edmondson refers to her practice as a representation of painting rather than as being representational. Despite the overt use of faces as her image source, she regards her work as neither figurative paintings or as portraits of people. Employing the momentary seduction of fashion photography to lure the viewer into the world of idealized beauty, her paintings mimic the styles and codes of the desire industry to question the value and obsessions of aspirational perfection.
“I’m drawn to things that posses paradoxical qualities. Things that pull you in opposite directions, yet somehow maintaining the balance somewhat precariously: serene yet perilous; solemn yet whimsical; poised yet anxious; precious yet trashy...” says Edmondson, whose intense canvases lure their viewer into an otherworldly plane. These captivating faces with enchanting eyes evoke both beauty and an uncanny sense of encountering what lies beyond the veil.
For Edmondson, it is “almost as though these ‘anti-portraits’ faces inhabit a Baudrillardian ‘hyper-real’ parallel world. Those tightly cropped faces, often with ambiguous allusive narratives, invite and compel you to an intimate mesmeric, but also a little intrusive, viewing experience,” explains the artist.
Veils, wisps of hair, and feathers delicately frame the portraits. Their airiness echoes Edmondson’s intricate process, working for months at a time on one single piece. She often will use a single-bristle brush to finish the impeccable detail of each lash, pursed lip, or applied makeup. Notions of idée fixe and obsession emanate giving the viewer a deeper gaze into Edmondson’s artistic process.
Just as in fashion photography where the model is a support for the product and contextualization of such images, so is this support present in the context of Edmondson’s painting. Although seductive, the ideal they present becomes hyper-real: the image is devoid of identity and, paradoxically, an empty facade that is quickly consumed giving way to the anxiety and obsession that assert these paintings. Beyond the image, which gives them their presence, what is being portrayed here is the question of aspirational perfection of painting itself.
Everything In Equal Measure invites the viewer to engage with these works and scan the surface, shifting their reading between fantasy and the tropes of modernist painting, the skin of the image and the skin of painted surface, these works become paintings of unattainable desire.
Machiko Edmondson lives and works in Brighton, England. She received her M.A. from Goldsmiths College, London in1995. The artist has exhibited at the Centro Britânico Brasileiro (British Cultural Center), Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2002; Greek State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece in 2006; the Harris Museum, Preston, UK in 2009; Bradford Museum, Bradford UK in 2010. Her work is included in the the Walker Art Center, the Sander Collection, David Teiger Collection, and many other public and private collections.