Melissa Wilkinson's Queens and Monsters

I really like art. I think most people do too, or at least I hope most people like it. But being trapped in the “Rhodes Bubble,” even the biggest art lover can forget about all the art that’s being created outside these gates. But fear not, Rhodes has a gallery on campus that brings some of that art to us. Now is the perfect time to check out the gallery, located in Clough Hall. It’s currently showing a beautiful and empowering series by Melissa Wilkinson, entitled “Queens and Monsters,” which alludes to the feminist and queer themes running through the works. Here’s the description my Art History professor gave us: 

"Comprised of two recent series of paintings, "Queens and Monsters" deconstructs and remixes pop and personal iconography, from Golden Era Hollywood to ‘70s and ‘80s tomboys, from the glamour of disco to the digital distance of private Tumblr accounts. Focusing on the interaction of parts, Wilkinson manipulates and mediates these images in an exploration of gender play, micro-expressions, and her own coming of age as a queer person. Wilkinson says, "Influenced heavily by glitch art and data moshing I create meticulous watercolor and ink wash paintings in order to investigate the line that is straddled by abstraction and representation. I work in water media on paper to create a vulnerable object and a tender presence through my touch...I am interested in creating a kind of alternate identity of highly mediated likenesses, one that corrupts and disturbs our understanding of these identities as public performers, gender stereotypes and gay icons."

I went and saw the installation last weekend and I fell in love. The intricacy and realism in Wilkinson’s paintings are astounding. And the way she plays with hyper-feminine and masculine images by cross-cutting the images and then collaging them forces the viewer to think about how they define gender. My favorite piece was her take on a Linda Belginis piece I had just studied in Art History class. Honestly, I think it was my favorite just because I was so excited that I recognized the artist Wilkinson was alluding to. But even if you aren’t in an Art History class or an Einstein of art, it’s a worthwhile exhibit to visit. 

So go, culture yourself, and become that art hoe you’ve always wanted to be.