Jamaica and KY
My ongoing body of work explores constructions of the masculine within popular culture - while using Jamaican dancehall culture as platform for this discourse. My works seeks to measure the masculine by looking at how popular culture as contributed to these transformations. The early work looked at the fashionable practice of skin bleaching, followed by investigations of so-called ‘ bling culture’ and its relationship to the masculine within an urban context. While still making references to dancehall culture, my work raises larger questions about beauty, gender ideals and constructs of masculinity within so called ‘popular black’ culture. It examines the similarities and differences between ‘camp aesthetics’ – the use of feminine gendered adornment - in the construct of the urban masculine within popular culture. This body of work raises questions about body politics, performance of gender, gender and beauty, beauty and stereotyping, race and beauty, and body and ritual.
Materially, the work has been a continued exploration of mixed media ranging from drawing and painting, to installation, street projects, mixed media tapestries, mixed media photographs along with three-dimensional objects and wallpaper to expand the discourse formally and conceptually. Combining flower petals, toys, pussy bullets (tampons) etc. along with these images has helped to expand the conversation about gender construction and how ideas about masculinity are indeed shifting in to a kind of faux feminine. Expanding my media choices has allowed for multi-dimensional exploration of image, language and gesture in the construct of gender; presenting or deconstructing notions of masculinity and its parallels with the feminine. Referring to notions of gender and identity as masquerade. The result of this choice has made the work more decorative, decadent, iconic and confrontational.
gallery links: www.moniquemeloche.com