“Love fashion but don’t let it consume you”.
Anna Halldin Maule’s Photo-realist oil paintings reside in that gravity defying territory that is irony. At once they depict the glossy wonderland of contemporary consumerism – so slick and shallow you could slide right off it – yet at the same time they are breathtaking masterpieces created from sheer talent and painstaking labour. Collaborating with her photographer husband in Hawaii, each piece is referenced from high fashion art direction, real models, styled product and then meditated over for 8 hours a day, 6 days a week for months on end. Her process reflects the same devotional quality as her subject’s worship of the fashion Gods. Slave to surface, Halldin Maule paints layer upon layer of paint and medium to create a finish so perfected it’s rendered sacred. They are our modern day consumer serpents, tempting us with the slickest of apples as they share that same divine glow as a Renaissance Virgin Mary.
Society has always used symbols and signifiers to square off individuals into their appropriate cubes. Whether it’s foot binding in China, neck rings in Burma, vampire facials or Victorian corsets, the female body landscape has always been tied up, rung out, bound and bullied into public notions of what is beautiful, what is sexy, what is your identity and what is your feminine worth?
“Sex is the mysticism of materialism and the only possible religion in a materialistic society.” ~ Malcolm Muggeridge
These Fembot erotic deities, giddy, shrink-wrapped posers, muted shells or frenzied gloss addicts come with a hefty price tag. She is nothing behind her Hermes scarf. She’s wrapped up in logo pretty, sacrificing her individuality for a word or a glitzy bauble. Roadkill in the path of the machine that is fashion commerce.
Ludicrous, scathing, tongue & cheek and appallingly beautiful I wonder where these pieces end up. If they’re on the walls of porcelain mansions, upper east ‘it’ girl lofts or cashed up Fashionistas, I can only hope that their owner walks past them with a knowing smile.
Strike a pose. There’s nothing to it.