Beauty: Media Obsessions, Commercial Constructions


Brandt Gallery’s Fall 2012 season relies upon deliberation and coincidence, as one artist’s documentary obsession with a  longtime local news anchorwoman gives way to a collaborative exploration of commercial constructions of feminine  beauty.

DANA DEPEW: THE WILMA SMITH PROJECT, SEPTEMBER 8–OCTOBER 6: Having grown up on a farm in Medina in the 1980s, Dana  Depew essentially grew up with Wilma Smith. Since 1977, Wilma has provided northeast Ohio with the daily  news and  earned ten local Emmys–quite an accomplishment as so many anchors have come and gone. Yet Wilma remains, a fact  that leads to a body of work paying homage to her continued service.

Wilma’s daily attire serves as subject matter for several works. She states she is aware that people watch every day to see  what necklace she has on, and she has fun trying to find new ones. “It’s an easy way to change an outfit. Clothes are  expensive and you usually only see from the waist up anyway. It could be the same blouse or the same suit, but the  necklace is different.” This exhibit will consist of works loosely based on her daily accessories, as well as paying homage  to the notion of celebrity with a hometown feel.

MICHELLE MARIE MURPHY AND CYNTHIA PENTER: PERCEPTUAL BEAUTY, OCTOBER 12–NOVEMBER 3: What contemporary media Culture continues to broadcast as acceptable in female appearance gives these artists material to examine the  motivations of the wearer and the observer of beauty standards, treatments, and products. This multimedia exhibit  explores opposing positions in the relationship between consumption and rebellion of these ideals. Producing macro  close-ups of the adorned, treated body and beauty “tools,” Murphy and Penter shift the gaze from the female  as a subject  to over-the-counter beauty maintenance products. The repeated forms  magnify the subject, creating optical plays for the viewer to discern. The resulting images blend perceptual space and our cultural space, revealing the image of beauty  as both an idealized abstraction and socially constructed consumable obsession. The subject matter will center around women and the actual objects to which they will relate. Posturing what does the audience bring to the idea of beauty, and  whether the observer or the creator is more in control of what passes as beauty or not.

NANCY PRUDIC: EXCHANGE: VISIBILITY/INVISIBILITY, NOVEMBER 9–DECEMBER 22: Nancy Prudic is associate professor of visual arts at Lake Erie College and has worked at the Cleveland Museum of Art in the Department of Education and  Public Programming for eighteen years. Prudic believes that art is informed by the questions one asks oneself.  Throughout her career a recurring theme has been personal image and “How is it formed?” As a woman she naturally  questions the issues of the female body image and perception, both personal and social that affect one’s sense of self.  This installation is intended as work in progress, as society’s perceptions as well as one’s self-image change over time.