Over on her blog “Portraits of an Artist,” Mary Burns notes a bit of history behind John Singer Sargent’s “Madame X” and graciously includes a mention of our reinterpretation of the original.
Gotta say it’s kinda fun having our photo held up next to the original painting as well as a Vogue photoshoot with Nicole Kidman! Read Mary’s post ›
The other day Niki and I were assessing the final color edits needed before printing Madame X [after John Singer Sargent] from the Muse series. Visually combing through the whole image, she noted the usual process of balancing skin tones, and then mentioned bringing up the color in my lips. Observing the lips, I immediately looked for adjacent color relationships to ensure balance. In all artistic seriousness I replied, “Oh nice…my lips match my nipples.” After a half-moment’s pause, we both burst into laughter having realized the disparately serious tone against the slightly absurd words. Fortunately, these exchanges are an often occurrence during our collaboration, and we revel in their beautiful spontaneity.
In addition, we are proud to have this image included in the Kinsey Institute 2013 Juried Art show from May 17 to July 13, 2013. View an online gallery of the exhibition – but note that, considering the nature of the exhibition, sexually explicit images are included.
Also, “Girl with a Pearl Earring [After Vermeer]” is on exhibit as part of the Face Value: Portraits from The Kinsey Institute exhibition from April 12 – August 30, 2013.
Face Value: Portraits from The Kinsey Institute explores the various ways that artists utilize the portrait. This exhibition in the main gallery includes contemporary and vintage photographs, as well as painting, prints, and sculpture.
It’s truly an honor to be included in the same exhibits as Pierre et Gilles, Herb Ritts, Joel-Peter Witkin and other artist who’ve provided artistic inspiration along my journey.
Our latest addition to the Muse series, Madame X [After Sargent] is based upon John Singer Sargent’s Portrait of Madame X. The beauty and grandeur of the original painting provided us a lot of inspiration for our reinterpreted photograph. Yet it was the history and taboo associated with Sargent’s work that gave us much direction.
For Parisians in the Victorian era, Sargent’s display of bare skin proved scandalous for both model and artist. Mindful of that history, we borrow costume elements from the gay Leatherman’s subculture, and mash it up with our own gender twist. The harness, traditionally in leather, is re-imagined in black silk taffeta and chandelier crystal covered snaps. Originally leather chaps, they now shimmer in black sequin fabric accompanied by a matching dress train and chandelier crystal covered snaps.
Beyond the costume and overall reinvention, what ultimately drew us to reinterpret Sargent’s painting was two-fold. We were immediately attracted to the simultaneous strength, grace and femininity in the model’s pose. And secondarily, we knew it was those precise elements that would give us a hybrid gender expression that felt authentic.
View more from the Muse series ›