One hundred and sixty

Bright Idea

2008 by Bonnie Gloris
Broadway Gallery, NYC until 15th July

Bonnie Gloris’s work is part of the Baby Doll exhibition at Broadway Gallery, an all female show presenting views of contemporary women. The work in the show ranges from painting and installation to drawing and jewellery, in a display of these women’s explorations of, often their own, femininity. Gloris’s work is obviously inspired by 50s pinups, mixing the sexuality of the Marilyn Monroe character with nudity, stereotypes and Marilyn’s contemporary, the 50s housewife. She has collages of these 50s women, nude but for the unmistakable pointed bra, dressed in female embodiments of a type — the ballerina, the biker-girl, a mermaid, all of course with the characteristic curvaceous bosom and miniature waist. The compositions come off as playful, fun and nostalgic in their stylistic approach, like dated posters and advertising, though not particularly poignant. Bright Idea is interesting though; painted, rather than the usual collages, we cannot quite tell whether Gloris seeks to be ironic. In its brightly coloured palette this light bulb wallpaper immediately brings to mind the high coloured advertisements of the home: perfectly made up woman stands in front of day-glow kitchen or living room. Yet the pattern is light bulbs, brilliant ideas, mirroring the symbol that erupts from the figure’s head. This, perhaps deliberately, is an energy saving bulb; perhaps aiming to bring these old ‘ideas’ into the present, or make a statement that things haven’t much changed. Either way it glows with a white and luminous purity, as our leading lady, all dark hair and red lips & nails, looks to the side at it coyly.


1 Comment

Filed under Twenty First-Century

One response to “One hundred and sixty

  1. Thank you for the insightful interpretation of my work, Sophie. It’s always interesting to hear the viewer’s perspective.

    You are on the right track with “Bright Idea,” which depicts a woman having the brilliant idea to use environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent light bulbs, rather than incandescent bulbs. I intended this to denote progress.

    The other piece you have referred to is “Some Girls,” which challenges the ‘airbrushed’ portrayals of women in the media and instead shows them as unique individuals capable of pursuing their dreams, regardless of how ambitious or unusual their aspirations may be. You will notice a quote by Gloria Steinem written in the lower background of the piece which encapsulates the concept well: “For women… bras, panties, bathing suits, and other stereotypical gear are visual reminders of a commercial, idealized feminine image that our real and diverse female bodies can’t possibly fit. Without these visual references, each individual woman’s body demands to be accepted on its own terms. We stop being comparatives. We begin to be unique.” Here is a link to the piece on my website for your readers who may not have seen the exhibition:

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