Anya Roberts-Toney MFA Visual Studies Thesis 2014
Pop Fiction: Complicity, Fantasy, and Pop Culture Images
My work examines the consumption of pop culture images through the lens of painting. Referencing the crisp contrast, saturated color, and overall slickness of glamour photography, I utilize portraiture to examine the ways in which these images inspire adoration and identification while simultaneously reinscribing cultural standards of female beauty.
Girl Crush is an installation of small-scale paintings based on promotional images of pop singer Lana Del Rey. Fandom is a primary interest of mine, and the paintings serve as records of the time I spend contemplating Del Rey’s image. By hanging the paintings salon style on the painted wall, my intention is to evoke the teenage tendency toward a shrine-like display of sacred objects, as well as the cluttered nature of the computer desktop.
Del Rey’s image also serves as an archetype in my work of the kind of beauty-oriented images that appear in women’s magazines, in advertisements, and all over the Internet. By combining the enticing visual elements of those photographs with formal disruptions, my intention is for the viewer to consider the power that media images have over how women’s bodies are perceived and manipulated.