Beauty Tricks

2018

120cm x 60cm / 47" x 23"

This panel was made for the 'Art of Glass' exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland in 2018.

The idea grew from a desire to make something really beautiful.  This led me to question common notions of beauty and immediately a multitude of thorny contradictions popped up in my mind.

The central figure is based around a stereotypical madonna - blonde, slim and dressed in a voluminous pink frock.
But her nipples have been censored , she has liposuction lines on her torso and  hypodermic needles and scalpels adorning her halo.
 Above her, a set of medieval scales (which are traditionally used to symbolise the ‘weighing of souls’ )  refer instead to the long-running cosmetics ad, asking ‘worth it, not worth it’.
At her feet, two little girls gaze up admiringly at her from their grey world of abandoned plastic containers, some of which will have contained beauty products, and are branded ‘Natural’ or ‘Fresh’.
 Above, a woman fires a gun at a mirror, smashing it to smithereens. When the viewer looks closely, they can see their own reflection in those bits of mirror.

To the left, an apparently angelic grandmother knits a web of Barbie dolls, encouraging her daughters and granddaughters to lose weight and make the best of themselves.
To her right is a bulimic Rapunzel.
 At the top, Satan is seen hopping surreptitiously across the towers of Cambridge with a pile of books heaped on his back, stealing all the knowledge, wisdom and power, while the self-conscious women are distracted by their own appearances.

 

Made with hand blown glass and salvaged glass,  which has been painted, sandblasted, fired and layered, with added glass beads.