When asked what ‘grosses’ us out the answers always have one thing in common, the fear of obtaining a virus or illness from that repulsive thing. After researching some artists who work with the Grotesque I discovered that what seems to repulse us most is when the sculptures represent human bodies.
When looking at the Grotesque I had to think about what provokes me to feel disgust. I made a list of actions, objects and creatures that turn my skin and one thing that stuck out to me was spiders and their webs. So with this I decided to make webs out of my own hair. Combining hair unattached from the body with spider webs increased the level of revulsion. I then inverted the images to mimic the colour of silk webs.
Next on my list was freezing hair. It didn’t quite work out how I wanted it to as the hair clumped up in one place rather than dispersing (I tried a few times with the same result) but I quite like what I was left with. When still encased in the balloon and with the tie of the balloon still attached, I believe the images look like a hairy human belly button. When the balloon is removed the clumped up hair suggests something almost sexual like female pubic hair. These ice balls of hair may cause disgust just as pubic hair does. Many woman are expected to shave, however, shaving is more unnatural than being bald downstairs, so maybe freezing hair is just as unnatural as shaving it.
And then I got the Plasticine out. I was inspired by Johnathan Paynes’ ‘Fleshettes’ to create my own little monstrous creatures. I started with a bar of soap, because who isn’t repulsed by a bar of soap covered in (pubic?) hair. I then used pink Plasticine to fashion human-like features such as fingers and warts that sprout out of the soap. The balloon was added as an experimental measure that I believe will be more fitting as it deflates and resembles a nipple. But for now I am just playing about with making things that gross me and hopefully my audience out.
Candles are seen as a feminine object (a candle often makes an easy gift for a female for special occasions) despite their phallic shape. The pale pink of these candles represents human skin. When I sprinkled hair on the candles it stuck and reminded me of hairy legs. The candle emerging from a bush of hair has sexual connotations of a penis standing erect from its pubic hair.
Hair can be sexy, but only when attached to our head? These lustful, full lips have lost their appeal due to the hair stuck to them, a curse only too recognisable to a lipgloss wearing fool on a windy day.
I have been quite surprised, and overwhelmed, at how much I can do with hair. For now I will continue researching and experimenting with the Grotesque and will post more on how my work develops.