Gabrielle Gollogly recently completed her Honours and graduated from The University of Tasmania’s School of Creative Arts. Throughout her degree, Gabrielle majored in painting, however, decided to combine both photography and paint during her Honours year.
For a moment, I remembered to love myself
The connection between my appearance and eating is something that has plagued my everyday thoughts for many years. How to eat, how much to eat, and what is permissible to eat is a primary concern within my day-to-day routine. I am surrounded daily via the media with socially constructed notions of the ideal look and body type such as on billboards, in women’s magazines, and most prominently on social media. My research is concerned with the visual representation of women consuming food and the constraints that surround this. I am interested in the social taboos within our consumerist culture and the construction of a feminine ideal. Women’s desires in everyday experiences may not always meet the standards of femininity, therefore feelings of guilt can be the outcome if such pleasures were ever sought. My artwork challenges cultural issues around women and food and reveals the release that comes with unapologetically consuming and behaving exactly as you please. I hope to disrupt the forces and limitations behind the representation of the female gender. As a result, I want to normalize simple pleasures and help create better relationships with food and the figure.
The More You Have, The More You Want
The confrontation of sugary temptations can often consume the mind with overpowering cravings and an insatiable urge to sink our teeth into something sweet. Easily accessible food and modern society’s unavoidable marketing entice us to continuously consume and over-indulge in foods that are seductive, satisfying, and comforting in nature. My portraits challenge the censorship on compulsive behaviour and investigate the cognitive-emotional processes underpinning our desires to overconsume. Each work has been motivated by the reality that foods high in sugar have the ability to override an individual’s capability to stop eating, due to highly increased levels in the brain’s reward circuitry.
The artworks embody an individual who is lost in the bliss of consumption. A raw and intensified contemporary interpretation of overindulgence has been photographically captured within a private space of solitude to emphasise the secrecy of compulsive behaviour. In an attempt to symbolise a fabricated world of excess and over-consumption I have embellished the photographs with paint to heighten the intoxicating effect and add to the mass of sweet food. The innocence, fragility and vulnerability of the figure is threatened by a painterly colour-saturated sugary confection, consequently generating an overwhelming and confining feeling. As a result, the sickly-sweet mask becomes a representation of what we eat and our self-destructive behaviours.
A Threatening Confection
In contemporary society we are confronted daily by the triggering temptations of a culture geared toward easily accessible food, over-consumption, and the unavoidable marketing that maintains and fuels an addiction. Through theoretical research and practical exploration, I have investigated the destructive effects of eating disorders, through addressing the connections between food, body image, addiction, and overindulgence. A raw interpretation is expressed through photographically capturing heightened moments of the binge, which I have amplified with the application of paint. The portraits convey vulnerability and fragility with the imagery depicting the indulgent comfort found in eating.
Each photograph has been embellished with paint, creating an intoxicating effect and blurring the boundaries of desire and dependency. The depiction of colour-saturated sugary food and the act of over-consumption create a tension between attraction and repulsion. This body of work is motivated by the notion that strategically marketed ‘forbidden’ foods are especially alluring; however, this seductive quality is troubled by the reality of a mental illness controlled by an addiction to sugar. – Gabrielle 2017
A tension between dubious attraction and sceptical distaste surrounds the act of confection within this body of work. The visual representation of a fluidly painted liquid substance dripping and oozing down a head and bust present the viewer with a set of paradoxes. The confrontational self-portraits embody a classicist idealisation; the painting of the figure alludes to Greek marble sculptures, but this perfected portrayal is obscured by a threatening, thick and heavily weighted icing that varies between uncomfortably saturated or drably muted colour. The identity of the figure is slowly being concealed and the gaze is disrupted by the overpowering quality of the icing. These pictorial pourings evoke sensory experiences or encounters with an imaginary physical sensation that can either be pleasurable or repulsive. The dripping motion is fraught in contrast to facial expressions that suggest calm approval and revitalisation. Notions of beauty are challenged by tarnishing the skin, hair, and clothing, however the choice of sticky, sweet icing acts as a perplexing deliciously seductive garnish. Our senses are made vulnerable in this visual exploration of consumerism and attraction. – Gabrielle Gollogly