Août Gallery is delighted to present its new exhibition: More Real. The solo show, debuting on the 4th of December, will feature the latest works of Detroit based artist Isabelle McCormick.
Through her artwork, McCormick seeks to understand the redefinition of femininity in the age of social media and filtering. It is no surprise that the feminine goddess herself; Venus -traveled through time to become the protagonist of this artistic social experiment set in the digital age.
While it’s true that bold vivid colors are at the forefront of the artist’s works, it is the texturization that is chief, as its versatility is drenched in symbolism pertaining to the re-evaluated female body: from smoothed out surfaces emulating Photoshopped “perfect” skin painted with traditional oil brushstrokes methods, to Gold leaf, metallic paint, and Swarovski crystal rhinestone simulating Snapchat filters, even to frosty piping techniques representing crisp curvy figures.
The series of contemporary works morph into a sensorial investigation of the visual language of the woman in our current digital culture, oscillating between the “More Real” self, and the façade portrayed on social media.
Isabelle McCormick (b. 1992) is a painter from St Paul, Minnesota, currently based in Detroit.
She received her MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in May 2021 and graduated from the Brown University | Rhode Island School of Design Dual Degree Program in 2015 with a BFA in Painting and BA in Literary Arts.
Isabelle’s work navigates the distance between the bodily self and social media façade, employing traditional oil painting techniques to render virtual space.
The artist spent two years in her mother’s native country Rome, Italy, serving as the Resident Fellow for the Rhode Island School of Design | European Honors Program. She has worked in Museum Education and Public Programs at the San Diego Museum of Art, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Isabelle has exhibited her work nationally in New York, Detroit, Providence, Minneapolis, and San Diego, as well as abroad in Italy, Greece, and Lebanon. Her second solo show will open summer 2022 in Detroit.
” I am struck by the centrality of the Venus figure throughout the complicated Western canon and its enduring influence across the social media screenscape. At the meeting of technology and art history, I examine the relationship between self-surveillance and feminine archetypes enmeshed in the Venus pudica tradition. I rethink the bathing goddess’s gestures and the anticipated voyeuristic gaze—represented in my work as the smartphone camera lens. There is a reverence for “techne” in my formal approach that redoubles this investment in art history. I employ traditional oil painting techniques to render virtual space and further unpack how Internet culture remodels the visual language of femininity. I draw from the Western tradition to at once learn from “the Masters” while reclaiming narrative control over expressions of female sexuality. Living in a society where the pressures of la bella figura pervade, the battle over the female body has become the material meat of my work.
With the expansion of the leaderless Internet and birth of the smartphone, women en masse have the tools to redefine the ideal feminine outside of art historical precedents. I am interested in how traditional notions of femininity are rebranded for online audiences and younger generations, even within a climate of body positivity. I cultivate a material sense that imitates self-branding, to channel the language of social media influencers and beauty bloggers. Gold leaf, metallic paint, and Swarovski crystal rhinestones gesture to Snapchat filters, where human flesh is made to sparkle. Smoothed out brushstrokes mimic the spot healing brush on Photoshop, used for rendering “poreless” skin. I contrast this hard-edged figuration with chunky, cakey texture. Using frosting piping techniques, I embrace the frivolity so often linked to the feminine domain. Plaster molds add three-dimensional depth, while complicating the flatness of my painting surface and its reference to the smartphone screen.
A hollow, standalone avatar emerges across my paintings. Plastic and malleable, seductively painted. She is glued to the screen, her iPhone a phantom limb. I look to women artists critical of the collective pressure to put your best face forward, from Orlan’s performances of plastic surgery to Cindy Sherman’s Instagram page. Growing up in the Information Age where selfhood operates as currency, painting is a way for me to navigate this distance between the bodily self and social media façade. Wading in this space between helps me better understand what it means to be a woman and artist in our hyperbolic world of retouching apps and reality TV. “