Faces of Vanity Fair by Daniel McKewen
April 2011 to September 2012
About the artist
Daniel McKewen is an emerging visual artist currently working on a practice-led PhD research project at Queensland University of Technology. McKewen's research focuses on the Hollywood entertainment industry, and in particular, the creative impulses of its fans.
His practice interprets and reconfigures Hollywood imagery in order to find points of intersection between complicit fan behaviours and critical artistic practice.
Working primarily in the medium of video and digital stills, his practice uses footage and imagery appropriated from film, television, and online. The transformative processes McKewen employs create new images and video installations that aim to explore the tension between, and creative potential of, the roles of fan and artist, with the aim of 'making sense' of his own social experience of fandom.
Since completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours at QUT, McKewen has exhibited both nationally and internationally, both as a solo artist, and as part of Boxcopy, an artist run initiative/collective.
About the work
Faces of Vanity Fair is based on digital stills derived from his video artwork entitled Every face from Vanity Fair's Hollywood covers 1995-2008. The work is the result of an intentionally labour-intensive process of frame-by-frame editing and image manipulation in order to explore the critical possibilities of these processes as fan behaviours.
Faces of Vanity Fair presents new, distorted and hybridised versions of celebrity portraiture. By reframing, re-animating, and morphing the original material, various grotesqueries and moments of strange mutation have been created; faces have been frozen halfway between one celebrity and another. Forced smiles become contorted grimaces, and serenely poised stares are reframed into abstracted shapes.
In response to the beatific-countenance of these primped and polished celebrities, their portraits have been re-made into a turbulent painterly surface. Faces of Vanity Fair captures transitional, 'in-between' moments of portraiture and opens up dialogue on the critical potential that exists in such 'fannishly' complicit responses to the constructed imagery of the entertainment industry.
Image: Daniel McKewen Faces of Vanity Fair 2012