Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cara Phillips - "Objects of Beauty"

I've been reading Cara Phillips blog Groundglass for a while now (an interesting recent post on elitism in the art world and photo blogs), but until the other day, I hadn't got around to actually looking at her work.

There's some interesting stuff. Her work revolves around the "beauty" culture and comes in part from her own experience of it first hand. There' more in her bio and statement "Objects of Beauty" (which I couldn't cut and paste bits from).

I especially like that she doesn't necessarily take the typical or more obvious approach to this subject.

With topics like Stills, Chairs, Rooms, Machines, Phillips takes an approach that at times falls somewhere between Lynne Cohen and Taryn Simon and pushes out beyond the edge somewhere. For example, I find some of Phillips' work much more eerie and disconcerting than even Cohen's war rooms or psychological labs - the Before and After rooms, or the consulting chairs or the liposuction equipment, the books of breast samples or the treatment room that looks for all the world like a coroner's morgue with mood lighting.

The whole "chairs" series is also fascinating - not just for the repetitiveness of the chairs themselves, but for the details of the consulting rooms - everything from the decor of a bad dental office to playboy motif to something that looks like the theatre set of a cheap 1960's production of Charlie's Aunt.

This is a great look at a subject that isn't just confined to Beverly Hill's anymore - you could probably find any of these offices in the good old prairie city of Edmonton. I hope it gets plenty of exposure.

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