Is there a place in the human imagination where the glamorous and the grotesque can co-exist in harmony? Many artists would say yes, it’s possible to portray sensuality and monstrosity as compelling complements to one another. Bob Self certainly thinks so. The curator of last year’s Carnival of Astounding Art strikes again, this time with a sideshow-themed exhibition that showcases the works of two legendary artists—Olivia De Berardinis and Jordu Schell.
De Berardinis is one of the world’s most renowned pinup artists. Her iconic paintings of gorgeous women (many commissioned by Playboy magazine) are a case study in “Beauties.” Schell is a preeminent creature artist, and his detailed sculptures of original monsters certainly qualify as “Beasts.”
In our ever-changing popular culture, there is the ongoing notion that “opposites attract.” It’s a notion that Self exploits as he juxtaposes the work of these two artists who have never before been exhibited together. Indeed, their work doesn’t even appeal to the same audiences. Or does it? Are romanticized versions of flawless beauty and profound deformity really that different from one another, or are they extreme variations on the same artistic point of view?
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website