Thursday, January 7, 2010

Michele O'Marah | Opening at Cottage Home

Michele O'Marah
A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do
January 9 - February 6, 2010
Opening Saturday, Jan 9th, 6-9pm

Kathryn Brennan Gallery is thrilled to present A girls got to do what a girls got to do, an exhibition of new work by Michele O'Marah. For the exhibition, O'Marah has created three new video works that are re-created scenes from the Pamela Anderson film Barb Wire (1996). Continuing her examination of the mass media representation of the revolutionary, this exhibition is the second half of a project that began with her piece How Goes it with the Black Movement? (2007), whose focus was a PBS broadcast interview between Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton and conservative host and author William F. Buckley on his program Firing Line. A counterpoint to the heady, academic discussion of the former, O'Marah's current source, Barb Wire, is an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. Anderson's "Barb" is a disaffected mercenary in the post-Second U.S. Civil War city of Steel Harbor, who gets caught in the middle of the revo lutionary activities of a former flame who is working to expose the ruling Neo-Fascist government for its ruthless behavior. Aimed at a Gen X audience, the film has acquired a cult status despite a poor reception, both critically and at the box office.
For A girls got to do what a girls got to do, the artist will be exhibiting three video works, installations of set pieces, photographs, and text-based drawings. Having re-staged four scenes from the film, O'Marah has cast a different actress for each to play the character of Barb. In addition to the artist's probe of the corporatized, MTV version of a revolutionary hero, O'Marah's efforts serve as deconstructive analyses of the film's representation of femininity. Hiring a diverse range of professional actresses to fill Anderson's stiletto high heels, O'Marah's "Barb" takes various forms. Working with each actress, O'Marah's video works take on the most sexually explicit scenes from the film and offer a variety of interpretations of the lead role: campy, flirty, and sexy. The one-dimensional, Barbie Doll of a character is given a depth, sexuality, and humor that is lacking in the original. Set pieces from the production of the videos re-installed and accessori zed with photographs and sculptures blur the line between art installation and function. In addition, a series of text-based works on paper, pulled from dialogue and lyrics from the film’s soundtrack (primarily new metal cover versions of older songs), address issues of authorship and contrivance.

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