Elizabeth McGrath is one of my favourite artists. She speaks to that inner child in me that loves cuteness, but is fascinated by creepiness – a kind of confusing place between beauty and grotesque.
For me, the influences drawn from the pomp of baroque craftsmanship, combined in places with religious iconography, the homeliness of fabrics, faux furs and carved wood, all fused together with resin create a wonderful subversion of the familiar. Together with nods to tattoo art, Victorian freak shows, taxidermy and childhood toys the result is pop surrealist art that is fun, endearing and full of creepy character.
Here are some of my favourites both from her old and new works. (And if you like these too she has a couple of fantastic art books Everything That Creeps and Incurable Disorder. Or head over to her website for more creepy goodness!)
Bunny Tooth (2009)
Work like this highlights to me what a strange place the art world has always seemed to me, particularly in the UK. It seems to me that here, anything actually popular among mere mortals who enjoy a piece of art at face value is ‘not art enough’. However something completely un-aesthetic or banal that requires reams of explanation to validate it is viewed as ‘true art’.
I get the impression, whether right or wrong, that art happens differently in the US. It seems to me that art is allowed to be a bit more playful. I also think, and correct me if I’m wrong, that this type of art would struggle to be given a chance to shine in the UK, which is a huge shame to me.
So I imagine that for some self-proclaimed connoisseurs art like Liz McGrath’s is too low-brow to be ‘true art’. But I don’t care. What I love is that her works are not to be taken too seriously. Many of them are overt plays on words and visual puns. And I do enjoy a good pun.
What do you think of Elizabeth McGrath and this type of Art? Leave a comment!
Click on the images to take you to the image sources.