My work reflects the idea that the individual is part of an inter-dependent whole. The sculptures and photo-based images are reduced to an object of thought, taking the viewers out of their conventional reality, denying the "real" while simultaneously affirming it.
In both my sculpture and the photo-based Twin series, I meld the genders and explore the perceptions that society has towards sexual characteristics, preferences, color, age, and roles.
I use my relationship with my male fraternal twin as a springboard into investigating the ideas around gender, beauty, self-image and aging. By means of photography I transform myself through using Photoshop, substituting my face to merge with someone else’s, while at the same time distancing myself from the images.
The work depicts outsized enigmatic figures, in which I incorporate myself into photos and art historical references as both male and female protagonist. In the act of being someone else I thereby create multiple layers of meaning behind each image. The images are at once insightful and amusing, alarming and poignant, holding a mirror up to contemporary society, reflecting social, historical, political and ontological issues. Not autobiographical, the work is an examination of the layering of identity, gender and self.
In the exhibition catalogue for a 2008 show entitled LOCUS at 111 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY, Michelle Falkenstein writes, “Arlene Rush’s self-portrait busts draw you so strongly into their materiality that they defuse interest in the details of the specific human being depicted. For her Twin series, Rush subverts assumptions about gender, age and kinship, implying a continuum and relationship both artistic and genetic.”