Pictures of Punzie
Ruskin Degree Show, 2018
Pictures of Punzie was a series of paintings I made in June. In a lot of my work and writing recently I’ve been looking at Rapunzel as a protagonist. I work part time as a children’s entertainer for a princess party company in which I entertain children dressed up as various princesses. Punzie is the nickname we give Rapunzel. While performing as ‘Punzie’ I became interested in how her love for painting amongst many other interests augments to her fetishized naivety and constructs her as the perfect romantic heroine.
I am interested in my practice how various identities, fictional and not, historic and contemporary all become assimilated into the same collective mental archive of archetypes. Disney princess as icons, function almost as modern ‘Madonna’s or muses, in the way that they decorate domestic and often unusual spaces as societies ideal feminine archetype. Rapunzel’s image is repeated in various representational forms from the cartoon to tangible dolls, seat covers, makeup bags and clothing.
‘Pictures of Punzie’ was an opportunity for me to consider the performative aspect of painting. I painted only using domestic cleaning brushes in a way which is clearly gestural. I aimed to clear out as much as my paint from my studios as possible. This is a nod towards the princess ‘cleaning up’ trope and how various forms of labour are disguised as a joyous song and dance or an extension of her femininity, including painting and affective labour. I wanted to parody this in these theatrical pieces. The paintings vary in size, subject matter and ‘costume’ confusing the historical with the pantomime with the contemporary. I wanted to disrupt and confuse any desire to situate this protagonist in reality.
This series of portraits aimed to disrupt the conventional imaginative creation of a singular protagonist. They were titled No 1 – 5 and appear, other than their shared name to be of different feminine characters. They are however clearly made in the same process and share a sort of collective personality.
The paintings collectively aimed to confidently, humorously and boisterously address the viewer, their space on the canvas, the medium, each other and the rooms architectural features such as a window which holds potential to host a ‘real’ Punzie.