Geisha Inspired …

Fiona O'Neill on Dezeen
Fiona O’Neill CSM Show, via Dezeen

I really like the inspired collection by Fiona O’Neill, from the Central Saint Martin Fashion Shows, seen on Dezeen – example above and there are more great images on Dezeen, so do click across and take a look.

Dezeen quote Fiona saying:

“My inspiration for this collection was women painting women, mainly derived from the artist Kate Blacker and her geisha series of painted women,”

I hadn’t come across Kate Blacker before and, exploring her eponymous site, rather wish I had but it’s never to late to learn, is it?.

I really like entire Geisha series and the more so after reading the Tate catalogue entry on ‘Made in’84’, image below, possibly my favourite of the that particular series

Kate Blacker Made In 84
‘Made in ’84’ from Kate Blacker’s Geisha series

A reviewer, from Kate Blacker’s site, on the Geisha series:

Pinning her hair with one hand, hiding her face with the other, the Japanese Geisha is the quintessence of femininity as men enjoy picturing it – demure, obedient, above all beautiful. With a start we are aware that this particular geisha is painted on an old piece of corrugated iron, distorted shapes resemble a robe, an arm, a fan – shapes the artist has highlighted to prove an obdurate material capable of previously unsuspected delicacy. Yet with a second flourish the trick is undermined; at her feet is a bag of clay, another building material waiting to be used. It is a study in extremes – the finish of the new, glossy paint transfiguring the fragment of scrap metal, feminine undulations countering masculine hardness, a disturbing play between two and three dimensions, the exotic and the everyday, between erotic invitation and unmannerly rebuttal.*

…the material is concerned with the concrete expression of the idea’s material foundation. Thus for the ‘women series’ Blacker used corrugated metal sheeting which had already been crumpled. In its deformed condition it paralleled a deformation which was taking place in patriarchical ideology, that is, the use of figures of women to represent or embody abstract ideas, an action which worked to the detriment of establishing a positive and holistic female imagery in the central tradition of Western art. Thus, while on occasion she uses traditional symbology, Blacker also reveals its negativity and decrepitude.

Ursula Szulakowska Artefactum April 1990

Interesting, no? And with an equally engrossing body of other work to see, it is well worth taking a few minutes to enjoy more on the Kate Blacker site.

I shall be keeping my eyes open for future exhibitions and news on her as well as wishing Fiona O’Neill all the best in her future fashion career.

What a fabulous way to start the week – fashion and art – delicious.



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