Linda James

Out of the Chaos: Precious Lives

November 20 - December 8th 2007
COCA, 66 Gloucester St. ChCh

Love Song 1 2007 acrylic and oil on canvas 1095x 1795

This installation of paintings reflects my ongoing interest in exploring what lies inside the ordinary. The images are appropriated from advertisements that use particular representations of young women to sell products. I am interested in bringing to light the multiple complexities that these images represent within a context of fast and aggressive global capitalism.

In 1996, in Disegno Interno, I re-interpreted paintings that drew upon historical images of the female body in western painting. Eleven years later I am revisiting this idea within a contemporary context. Disegno Interno was the concept of the philosopher, Plato. He argued that the artists responsibility was to depict not what was in front of their eyes, but their vision of the ideal, an ideal that existed only in their minds.

Representations of woman in advertisements connect with the language of historical representations of female images in the tradition of western art.

Western society is currently saturated with women looking at us from advertisements. The images of womens bodies are designed to be viewed by women, to act as a mirror in reflecting an ideal, which can then be drawn on to persuade and seduce. Words such as delight, charm, allure, enchant and spellbound often work together with the images of the advertisements to persuade and seduce us. In this way, the images evoke the Greek myth of the Siren, beautiful women who lured sailors to their destruction through their enchanted singing. The ancient bargaining power that the images represent draw on clichéd components that similtaneously empower and entrap both the viewer and the viewee, often merging the two.

I have used the traditional western medium of painting to reinterpret and reframe these images of young women. I find it interesting to conflate these multiple and complex realities in this exhibition of young women. They paradoxically represent the power of seduction, the powerlessness of being seduced and the terror of choice. While the images can celebrate the simple generosity of beautiful and available women, they also reflect the embedded powerlessness of gifting themselves in this transaction. Who is giving and who is taking and where does power reside?


Love Song 2 2007 acrylic and oil on canvas 520x 595


Love Song 3 2007 acrylic and oil on canvas 990x 1795


Love Song 4 2007 acrylic and oil on canvas 750x 595


Love Song 5 2007 acrylic and oil on canvas 345x 295


Love Song 6 2007 acrylic and oil on canvas 295x 300


Love Song 7 2007 acrylic and oil on canvas 330x 240


Love Song 8 2007 acrylic and oil on canvas 635x 745