Socialites and men-about-town in diamonds, furs, tuxedos, and gowns are the focus of Jessica Craig-Martin’s voyeuristic lens with an all access pass to high society soirees. High color, cropped and angled photographs document anonymous party goers revealing unsuspected vulnerablilities among the excessive opulance. Craig-Martin states, “My camera wants to eradicate the personal. I see my works as abstract studies of sequins, evicted mollusks and air-conditioned mink. Vanity, excess, vulnerability, arcane social ritual. Failed armor. Glamour is a mirage. As you approach, it evaporates.”
Images appear as the glossy pages of a fashion magazine where nothing less than perfection exists. Upon further scrutiny, the perceived perfection melts away and the reality surfaces. Faces contort to perserve carefully applied makeup, feet strain in 4 inch heels, and luxurious jewel-encrusted handbags contrast against overly tan and aging skin. Craig-Martin reveals a bit of the grotesque beneath the glamour and gives the viewer a raw and beautiful look into the lifestyle of the modern aristocracy. Solo exhibitions of Craig-Martin’s photographs have been held at PS1 MoMA, New York and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. Her work is included in the collections of the New Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She has had numerous exhibitions in galleries in New York, Brussels, and Paris and has been a press photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines. Her work is now being represented by Winston Wächter Fine Art, Seattle.