Drawings on paper. Pencil and gilt cream with paper bag fragments and mixed media. Tyler Moorehead 2017 - 19.
Empowerment, personal transformation and metamorphosis explored through a re-imagining of Ancient Kabuki.
Gold paint and elaborately dyed and sculpted puffs of hair stand in as modern equivalencies to the traditional face powder and graphics of Japanese Kabuki.
As in Kabuki, make-up is intended not to mask, but to accentuate the true character of the performer’s face and body.
Borrowing the vernacular of religious European icons, portraits include halos, gilt and ornate designs to exalt their ordinary, extraordinary subjects.
Hand drawn repeats of motifs and flowers inspired by the artist’s favourite vintage African and Japanese textiles, create lush backdrops layers for drawings of mythical modern day heroines.
In the art of Kabuki, the concentrated act of applying intricate make-up is designed to aid a human actor’s mental transformation into a supernatural being onstage. Actors apply their own makeup in order to better understand their own faces and the superhuman qualities they must portray.
The artist invokes Kabuki as a healing spiritual route to creative self-expression for women of any race, age, size and ability. It explores the freedom of self-acceptance giving way to personal agency. It considers the opportunity to transcend visual identities and metamorphosise into superhuman self-concepts that go beyond the physical.
Paper bag fragments behind faces reference the “Paper bag test’ shorthand heard in 60s America for ‘acceptable’ non-white skin tones.
Mixed media inserts reference political and cultural pressures as broader targets for transformation.