Eva Lake’s collages from her series ‘Anonymous Women’ is about women, unknown models from a previous era before celebrity culture threw its harsh light on everything. The work tackles many themes through Lake’s humorous and surreal juxtapositions not least the fact that women are continually used to sell product, their faces and bodies used up in the commercial grinder of the advertising world.
Lake’ collages are not simply well made portraits, rather they look to drill down into our perception of beauty; how it has become commoditised, appropriated by advertising companies to sell goods and services. To that end Lake gives us portraits in which beauty becomes part of the whole; the sky, the earth, the sea. In Lake’s collages beauty is freed of its commercial constraints, its celebrity, its inhibitions and becomes part of our commons, the Goddess re-emerges from her prison of commerce. Here’s what Lake has to say about this collage series:
In another body of work, Targets, I dealt with famous women. Some suggested that the use of anonymous women might be an interesting choice. At the time I was determined to mine a known feminine narrative. Nonetheless I became aware that I certainly had an investment with beauties unknown, models and the like. Many come from previous eras, before models were names. I couldn’t resist collecting their faces, just as I had collected the famous ones.
After a fifteen year hiatus, during 2009 and 2010, I had also worked as a makeup artist again. Going into it that time, my whole view of the face was different – I mean the one I montaged with, not just the one I painted commercially. The return to a makeup career, such as it was, freed up and reshuffled my idea of the anonymous beauty. I had also a heightened idea of the face as cut up body parts, well aware that women’s faces are sliced and diced all the time.
I recall a fellow artist once telling me that beauty was dangerous. I knew this to be the truth in painting, but I also felt it was the case in many other things, including women. What I want to do with beauty and glorious artifice is put her where you least expect her to be. She’s often shoved into a box and I want to bust her out. She’s the ocean, the sky, the forest. She’s the skyscraper, the Pantheon, the illuminated manuscript. She’s also the wall, the decor, the carpet you step on. And she is also a girl from Southern Oregon, gazing down a muddy dirt road.