GIRL TALK brings together two artists, COLETTE and INDIA EVANS, who explore the iconography of traditional femininity to explore issues of gender and identity. Since the 1970s COLETTE’s pioneering performances and mixed media installations have established a unique brand of “hyper-feminine feminism” that is carried forward in the work of emerging artist INDIA EVANS. Coming from distinctly different sides of the Feminist movement, these two women find common ground in their unapologetic celebration of beauty, embellishment and the erotic.
Critic Alexandra Anderson-Spivy writes,
“COLETTE's essentially blithe esthetic has celebrated aspects of the feminine during the rise of an era when academic feminism declared suspect everything conventionally associated with enjoying being a girl. That includes high heels, fashion and make-up, not to mention good manners, elegance and romance. Her pieces also have hypothesized an ambivalent relationship with domesticity and fashion, posing questions about the nature of female roles in art and life without ever rejecting femininity. Through the manipulation and dramatization of her female archetypes Colette constantly alters stereotypes into something fresh, provocative and glamorous.
Her characters are allegorical. They invoke a highly theatrical symbolism to investigate social history and to challenge gender cliches. Her work constantly mines her own personal history and her associations with art and art history. During the past three decades Colette has enacted many recreations of legendary women, among them Delacroix's figure of liberty, Marianne; Mata Hari (in 1984 the artist turned her Berlin apartment into the boudoir of the alluring spy); and the Countess Reichenbach (1986), a fictitious aristocrat from the era of the extravagant King Ludwig”.
INDIA EVANS’ erotically charged collages explore a similarly “feminine” vocabulary, combining images of beautiful women culled from old books and vintage postcards, mixed
media, fragments of lace and beading, as well as the artist’s own poetic meditations – delicately written in thread onto the picture surface. Through an intricately conceived play of visual and verbal signs, Evans many “characters” are cast into erotic narratives that are at once alluring and disturbing. Their stories are played out in richly colored landscapes and architectural interiors, whose hard-edged style recalls the Surrealist canvases of Giorgio de Chirico. Evan’s poetry brings together content and context, asserting her presence in these lush dreamscapes.
INDIA EVANS began her career in Italy, where she studied at the Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence and the Accademia di Belle Arti, Perugia. She has had three solo exhibitions in Rome and has exhibited in several group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. This is the artist’s first exhibition at Pavel Zoubok Gallery.