Amanda Clyne’s Expressions of Fashion
Twisted, oil on canvas, (2010), 48 x 72 in
The work of Canadian artist Amanda Clyne is really best described in her own words.
When the viewer first glances at one of my paintings, the image and viewer lock eyes. The image stares back with a shifting, slivered gaze, appealing to the viewer to seek resolution of its ever-elusive form. Confronted with irreconcilable fragments or impenetrable blind spots, the viewer struggles to answer the image’s plea. Savouring the seductive exchange, the viewer and image become entwined in an active portrait of the experience of looking. ~ A. Clyne
The Looking Glass, oil on canvas, (2010), 54 x 60 in
When looking at Clyne’s paintings, there is an emotional chemistry at work, sadness and indeed a plea, features in each piece and across each series. It goes deeper than the simple melancholy of a beautiful woman though. Clyne’s work invites you to look closer, which is perhaps the plea of all women and perhaps every one of us).
Double Take, oil on canvas, (2009), 49 x 68 in
What at first seems the epitome of feminine beauty and winsome charm soon becomes not just splintered, but deformed. The aesthetic is warped with shadows, bulges and bleeding colour, transforming picture perfection into a disturbing hypnosis.
On Display, oil on canvas, (2009), 65 x 25 in
Today, Clyne is most influenced by the fashion industry and the images of perfection and beauty it perpetuates. She explains, ‘I’m also really interested in the expressions of sadness that permeate fashion images, in the models’ expressions of melancholy, longing, perhaps even shame. What does it say about our culture that these images are successful marketing strategies? Or is it just not noticed? Or are we so immune to such images that we can no longer connect to the emotions on display?
Remote, oil on canvas, (2011), 32 x 38 in
With her most recent work, including the Silver Series, the artist used images from fashion magazines, but in the past (as with the Old Masters Series) she drew from historical portraits.
Looking Back, oil on canvas, (2010), 39 x 55 in
Clyne endeavours to disfigure the glossy beauties to illuminate the falseness of the images of perfection we find in the media.
Losing Face, oil on canvas, (2011), 35.5 x 44 in
Discovering an interesting parallel when comparing historical portraits of society’s elite with fashion photography, Clyne realised the intention of both forms was to ‘fuel a spectacle of desire with feigned promises of intimacy and truth’.
Overcome, oil on canvas, (2011), 35 x 24 in
Clyne’s most recent pieces seem to be taking the mutations to a new level. With more dramatic juxtapositions of light and shade and a more liberal approach to the deconstruction of the image, the new work seems to shout even louder, the artist’s views on fashion imagery and the desire to be seen beyond the superficial.
Lara Cory is a freelance writer and blogger and co-founder of MOTIF Magazine. Classically trained in piano and a degree in Communications, Lara’s main interests are music, books, film and art.