Your Mirror is a show of paintings and animations made by the
artist Emma Talbot during a recent residency at The Womens
Library, London Metropolitan University in Whitechapel, London.
Talbot has used images from the librarys archive of womens
magazines from the 1950s to the present day to make a unique
body of visual work, which not only reveals shifting cultural gender
ideals but also offers a seductive starting point for a personal
imaginative process of re-identification.
The title Ill Be Your Mirror references both the Velvet
Underground song and ideas about reflection of the self through
received imagery. Like a kid in a sweet shop Talbot immerses herself
in these dictated images of glamour before concerning herself with
how to subvert and re-present them. Consequently her work not only
examines the dominant role of media imagery in contemporary culture
and the way in which it tells us what we might look like but also
how it channels desire into specific expectations and ambitions.
Talbot is interested in how the fictive life of the images are open
to creative usage and subversion beyond their original controlling
and marketing intent. She opens up the narratives to an emotive
reading that our imaginations can run away with. Ultimately
Talbots fascination with the subversive space of the teenage
bedroom results in an appropriation of the role of the fantasist
for herself. Her own groups of paintings like a shrine to a favourite
icon, revel in the romance and sentimentality that accompanies the
teenage doodling culture of self-identification.
However rather than being mere copies, Talbots
paintings, take on a life of their own. Her figures are often painted
with thickly encrusted paint, a painted life that disrupts the high
gloss veneer of the photographic representations. They have
a reworked narrative where the glamour is differed.
In her animation Pillow Book, Talbot redraws motifs from
graphic love stories found in teen magazines from the 1970's. The
narrative is distilled to it's basic elements, perennially evident
in the stories: searching, longing, anxiety, confusion and reconciliation
producing a dream-like tangle which reveals the underlying play
with emotions in each episode.
In addition to the work on show at Transition, Emma will also be
showing paintings at The Womens Library inspired by imagery
in 1980s magazines, entitled Smooth Operators and Material Girls.
There is a publication to accompany Ill be your
Mirror with writing by Martin Coomer and Rebecca Loncraine.
Priced at £4 it is available from Transition or by mail order
Click here for more details