Published on May 9, 2013 | by Chloe Ferguson

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Graduate re-fashions beauty in new show

[image: Jennifer Martin]

Central Saint Martins graduate and painting artist Jennifer Martin speaks to ALN about beauty ideals, the female psyche and new muse Lana del Ray during her latest show in London.

Martin’s latest show (Re)Fashioning The Gaze  at the Strand Gallery in London was a far cry from her first painting classes at UAL. She says she fell in love with painting during her foundation year: “It was the first time I used oil paint and I was hooked.”

After residencies in Berlin and Paris, Jennifer said: “I have settled in London and realised this city I live in has so much to offer, mainly because of the multi-culture and the people I meet.”

Vintage vanity

Her paintings of the female form are usually heavily made-up faces with exaggerated features resonating with retro icons like Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe.

With titles such as ‘Vanity Fairest’ and ‘Paralysed by Perfection’, the result is an almost gothic depiction of beauty.

“It is not my intention to destroy the beauty of the subject or what I see as beautiful but merely to interpret the subject how I see it,” she said.

Jennifer’s interest in the female psyche allows her to interpret women in relation to their beauty and how they perceive, attain and experience it.

“I am interested in the idea of how beauty exists in reality and how it is portrayed in the media, so I try to create this tension in my paintings through the layers of paint; some being transparent controlled glazes, others being more erratic and intuitive.”

Aesthetic expression

The high-fashion and beauty photographs she works from are “quite vacant, high-gloss, well composed photographs that allow me to construct a painting which has expression, texture, colour, emotion, and a certain kind of intensity that is seductive to the viewer.”

For inspiration Martin looks to contemporary artists Albert Oehlen, Beatriz Milhazes and Marlene Dumas; and films such as A Single Man and The Tree of Life. Her current muse is Lana del Ray, who has the exaggerated aesthetic she requires.

As a lover of vintage fashion, Martin told Arts London News about her secret haunts in a city full of inspiration; she loves to shop and feed her passion for all things retro: “Pop Boutique in Covent Garden, Rokit in Camden and Alfies Antique market in Church Street, they sell everything from clothes, furniture and jewellery.”

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