Marilyn Minter

I was recently at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas and discovered they have a great Marilyn Minter painting in their collection (Image 1). Notice I wrote painting, not photograph. Minter (b. 1948) creates her photorealistic paintings by staging photo shoots of models wearing caked-on make up or what Minter calls “war paint.” She uses an actual darkroom to develop the film and then combines various negatives in Photoshop to make a new image that she paints onto aluminum. The brilliant color, glossy sheen of the surface and simultaneous portrayal of both decay and decadence keeps me staring at her paintings with train wreck-like fascination. Her work is a warning of beauty’s fleeting nature and its subjects remind me of characters long past their prime like Miss Havisham from Great Expectations and Charley, the alcoholic divorcee in the film A Single Man. Of course there are tons of real life women too who need to quit trying so hard with Botox and Lipo and heed Minter’s words: “Perfection is the flaw. It doesn’t exist.”

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