Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Artist paints up scares with female monsters

"Boogiewoman" by Jaime Bull

Thirteen-foot-tall paintings are enough to intimidate any viewer. That’s just how Jaime Bull hopes museum visitors will react to her depictions of female beasts that represent strength, sexuality and aggression, among other characteristics.

The larger-than-life oil paintings in Bull’s work in the “Master of Fine Arts Degree Candidates Exhibition” are additionally adorned with hair, rhinestones and soft fabric sculpture. Her paintings serve as a commentary on political statements about women’s health and reproductive rights as well as the “feminine experience,” said Bull.

Bull created these works of art after being inspired by the monsters and beasts depicted in wall frescoes and on Renaissance globes in Cortona, Italy. The ancients used these depictions of female monsters to explain the inexplicable, like natural disasters or heaven and hell, and were meant to keep people in line, according to Bull.

“In response to these ideas, I invented a cast of female monsters who would frighten the pants off anyone who crossed them with their sheer size and blatant sexuality,” said Bull. She was inspired by the grotesque forms of these invented creatures and the scare tactics they employed.

Bull is a 2013 candidate in painting in UGA’s MFA program. Her brightly colored abstractions explore nature, culture, fantasy and sexuality with touches of humor and play. In 2012, she was awarded support to study and work in Cortona and at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. She is a recipient of the 2012–2013 Willson Center for Humanities and Arts Research Grant.

Bull views the paintings in her exit show as a “celebration of materials,” as she used both painting and sculpture to create them. She enjoys making bright, bedazzled surfaces, which she hopes engage viewers’ imaginations. Her paintings, though playful, tend to have a menacing element, according to Bull.

The paintings are on un-stretched linen and can be wrapped around the body and worn as a costume. In addition to her paintings, Bull is making short films documenting her paintings in motion when worn.

Bull is currently applying for grants and residencies and hopes to travel and teach in the future.

The “Master of Fine Arts Degree Candidates Exhibition” is on view at the Georgia Museum of Art March 16 to April 22, 2013, with an opening reception in conjunction with 90 Carlton: Spring on March 22. MFA Speaks is scheduled for March 21 at 5:30 p.m. and will feature the artists discussing their work.

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