135 x 160 cm | 50 x 59 in
Original painting in oil and acrylic on canvas.
"Part of a body of work for 'Make Me Believe' at Serena Morton Gallery, London Part exhortation, part invitation, the title of this show conjures up a magical journey into strange yet familiar worlds. All that is asked of the viewer is to suspend their disbelief and enter into ‘make believe’, as they would watching a play or reading a work of fiction. Four women artists reveal the fantastical essence of prosaic existence, each in their own unique way. Amanda Houchen’s vision of constructed identity is influenced by the theatricality of performance. Anja von Kalinowski draws on her own Russian/ German roots and religious iconography to create remote worlds. XaXa Mason re-imagines archetypes from myth and fairy tale through the prism of film stills and personal photographs. JJ Morgan delves into the natural world and creates her own hybrid flying insects, ‘flybrids’, to populate a transient parallel universe. Together these artists reveal truths about the darker side of life: vanity and cruelty, lust and envy; mortality and mystery. Unashamedly female, these inner visions are sometimes flamboyantly theatrical. Often decorative, their lush colour and instinctive mark making evoke dreamlike states. Removed by stealth from the rational, the linear or the analytical, a portal into another world opens up, inviting the viewer to step inside."
Source imagery for Houchen's work includes the more obscure and choreographed settings of burlesque, cabaret or circus, where people adopt theatrical roles and masquerade. Combining imagery from specific eras creates new, unrecognisable images. These characters are timeless and ephemeral, existing in the moment in which they’re recognised and belonging to constructions of their own devising. The focus is not only on the cult of the female star, but on the temporary nature of this state of performance and stardom.