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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Samantha Everton: Marionettes

In Marionettes, photo-artist Samantha Everton draws attention to the difference between picture-perfect worlds and lived experience.
By Hilary Simmons
April 19, 2011
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By Hilary Simmons
April 19, 2011
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Internationally acclaimed photo-artist Samantha Everton has gone to extraordinary lengths to source exactly the right antique marionettes, hand-sewn curtains, kingfisher-blue smocks and oddball flourishes for her 2011 Marionettes series. From a distance, her domestic tableaux look like sweet snapshots of well-seamed splendour. Up close, they reveal themselves to be unsettling images of women caught in moments of silent implosion; the unhappy inhabitants of hyper-realities. Marionettes float in airless rooms, clamber up the wall; demonstrate the depths of their despair by plonking face-first into birthday cakes. Their immaculate baby-doll dresses mock the mendacity of modern fantasy, and in most photos a large stuffed bird, such as a duck, observes proceedings impassively.

Everton is drawing attention to the difference between picture-perfect worlds and lived experience; her previous bodies of photographic art, namely the Utopia series, the Vintage Dolls series, and the Catharsis series, also illuminate women's psychological and sociological isolation. Everton always captures her images on traditional film using a medium format camera to heighten the surrealism of the narrative content and underlying symbolism. In Marionettes, her characters experience catatonic crisis in stifling settings and the unerring precision of her photographic processes means that we too dive into the shadowy depths of subconscious desire.

Come witness these captured moments of implosion — in Blue Day, a woman hangs from the picture-rail in her bedroom, waiting for you.

Image: Birthday Cake, Samantha Everton, 2011

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