Artist Statement, “Marilyn”
Why do we wear make up and what is beauty? The urge to be loved and adored is stronger than the lies we are brainwashed with. We are not happy with who we are because magazines and other outside sources tell us we need to look better and happy and “plastic”. When we put on makeup we believe in the lie of the cover-up. We also believe that love is a result of external factors and this causes an addiction to physical improvement of our bodies via corrective surgery and expensive facials and makeup products.
We never really see “things” in repetition and slow motion. We take it for granted that an image presented to us in a film and paraded through posters, calendars and other mass marketing tools has been truthfully presented and does not in- tentionally strive to manipulate the viewer. We think we refuse to be fooled, al- though we almost always are, by exterior forces intent on brainwashing us with false ideas, rituals and seeming necessities to our survival. Marilyn’s face, cap- tured in these slow motion images shows, after being viewed a few times, a painful distortion and one incongruent with the image of her we have come to accept. Her forceful animated facial expressions belie the fact of the clown’s mask, the truth being hidden behind the veil. What we have come to accept and even love is this self-denigration in ourselves, mirrored in thousands of moments of commercials, film images and magazine pages. We have come to believe that self-flagellation, at the expense of truth is worth the price. Marilyn has fooled all who have truly not looked and continues to do so. Anorexia, bulimia, drug addiction, all stem from this deep hatred and misrepresentation of “woman”. The imposition of exhibited sexuality as in porno films, heavy makeup and skinny bodies inspired by models, marketing and cosmetics companies, all treat woman as an object. The “worship” of icons such as Marilyn shows that we are obsessing, sometimes our entire lives, with the “false” side of our natures, one imposed on us, not natural to our existence. This obsession has re- placed true spirituality since worshipping the facades of ourselves or giving credence to their “power” further removes us from the truth. The downward spiral can be stopped if we take the time to think and look and feel.
I spent years as a high fashion model. At 17, I was attending the Fashion Institute of Technology and getting a degree in fashion design when I was approached by the students in the drawing and photography classes and asked if I would model for them. After that the design students wanted me to wear their outfits down the runway. I was “discovered” by a NYC based fashion designer, Marc Bouwer who booked me for his fashion show in New York. I remained a fashion designer for a few years while working as a fashion model on the side and making good money. I never liked the feeling of being a clothes hanger though. I had a lucrative modeling account with Liz Claiborne's company but after I grew my hair out a few inches was let go because they preferred the dutch boy haircut I had all the years before. I attended NYU Film school next and have been involved with film and video for several decades.
MARILYN (in church)
A 3 minute continuous video loop, composed of still images taken from a movie Marilyn starred in, underscored by the song “Get Happy”, performed by Judy Garland.
Date: First Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 Hours: 6-9PM
Location: The Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene, corner of Fitzhugh Street and Broad Street (17 S. Fitzhugh Street)
Parking: Street parking (meters) until 8PM, free after 8PM. There is a paying parking lot adjacent to the church as well.
The “worship” of icons such as Marilyn shows that we are obsessing, sometimes our entire lives, with the “false” side of our natures, one imposed on us, not natural to our existence. This obsession has replaced true spirituality since worshipping the facades of ourselves or giving credence to their “power” further removes us from the truth. The downward spiral can be stopped if we take the time to think and look and feel.
Visnja Clayton, filmmaker and artist, used still images of Marilyn she photographed from a television screen and assembled them into a three minute looped video underscored by the song “Get Happy”, performed by Judy Garland in the 1950’s.
Originally from Zagreb, Croatia, Visnja graduated from NYU film school with a BFA in Film and TV production. She also has a degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York city. She spent her early years in New York as a designer and a fashion model, later switching to film and video production. She has received numerous awards for her short film “Babushka” and has written a book about emotional nourishment for women, called “The Nourishment Guide for Women”, comprised of dozens of interviews with women from different stations in life talking about how and where they find nourishment. She lives in Rochester, NY.